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Thousands evacuated from German flood zone as Scholz visits

By AFP

June 3, 2024 07:51 PM


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Rescuers battled Monday to evacuate people from flood zones in southern Germany, as Chancellor Olaf Scholz said this was a "warning" that climate change was getting worse.

Thousands of people in the regions of Bavaria and Baden Wuerttemberg had to leave their homes since torrential rain on Friday sparked deadly flooding.

The floods have killed at least two -- a volunteer rescuer and a woman who was found dead in the basement of a house.

More evacuations were called overnight into Monday as the huge volumes of water caused flood defences to fail.

In Bavaria, some 800 people were asked to leave their homes in the area of Ebenhausen-Werk after a dam burst early Monday.

Residents around Manching-Pichl in the area worst affected by the floods were told to shelter in the upper floors of their homes.

Speaking on a visit to Reichertshofen, in a flood-hit area north of Munich, Scholz said that such floods were no longer a "one-off".

"This is an indication that something is up here. We must not neglect the task of stopping man-made climate change," Scholz told journalists.

The floods were "a warning we that we must take with us", he said.

 'Never before'

The Bavarian state premier Markus Soeder, who accompanied Scholz on his visit said there was no "full insurance" against climate change.

"Events are happening here that have never happened before," Soeder said, after a state of emergency was declared by districts across his region of Bavaria.

Some 20,000 people in Bavaria alone had been deployed to tackle the consequences of the flood, he said.

Rescuers on Monday found the body of a woman in the basement of her home in Schrobenhausen, Bavaria, according to local police.

The 43-year-old is the second known victim of the floods, following the death of a volunteer fireman, who was found dead on Sunday.

The 42-year-old volunteer died after his vessel turned over during a flood rescue operation.

Another volunteer, 22, was still missing after his boat also overturned overnight into Sunday.

A search operation to find the missing rescue worker had to be stopped due to the exceptionally high waters and strong currents, local police said.

The German Weather Service on Monday issued new warnings for heavy rain in parts of southern and eastern Germany.

 Rail delays

The widespread flooding and continuous rainfall impacted transport in the region with widespread train cancellations and delays.

Train lines leading from Munich to Stuttgart, Nuremberg and Wuerzburg were unusable, rail operator Deutsche Bahn stated on its website.

A landslide near Schwaebisch Gmuend overnight into Sunday caused a high-speed train travelling between Stuttgart and Augsburg to derail, blocking the line. Nobody was hurt in the incident.

Despite Scholz's pledge to combat climate change, a panel of experts separately said Monday that the government's emissions forecasts through 2030 were unrealistic.

The government had underestimated future emissions in the transport, building and industry sectors, the climate panel said in a report.

 

Overall, the experts assumed that the government's emissions-reduction target for 2030 "will not be met".


AFP


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