Dramatic floods on 14 and 15 July 2021 killed more than 220 people in Europe, leaving a trail ofdelete in Germany and Belgium, and damage in the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland.
Here’s a look back at one of the worst natural disasters in Europe in recent years.
– Dola trom –
After two days of heavy rain, floodwaters carried almost everything in their path, destroying entire communities.
West Germany was hit by the worst floods. The Rhineland-Palatinate state registered 49 deaths, while North Rhine-Westphalia reported 135 deaths. One person died in Bavaria and in total, over 800 were injured.
The total cost of damage in Germany is estimated at more than 30 billion euros ($ 30.3 billion).
The floods destroyed railways, roads, bridges, electricity pylons and mobile towers, as well as disrupting gas, electricity and water supplies in some places.
Across the two worst off regions, 85,000 households were affected and about 10,000 businesses were affected.
In eastern Belgium, 39 people lost their lives in the high waters. The Walloon region was severely disrupted, with about 100,000 people trapped in the disaster and 48,000 buildings damaged.
– Climate extremes –
In the 24 hours before the floods, the Ahr valley in Germany saw more than 90 liters (24 gallons) of rain per square meter, with an average of only 70 liters for the whole of July.
The magnitude of the spill has broken down records for Germany since the beginning of meteorological records.
Other factors contributed to the worsening floods. After a rainy spring, the earth was already well saturated with water.
At the same time, the region’s steep narrow valleys guided the flood waters, and the impermeability of developed land on the river bank prevented much of its drainage.
Experts have pointed to the impact of man-made climate change, which increases the likelihood of extreme weather events. A warmer atmosphere can hold more water, resulting in higher rainfall in shorter time spaces.
One month after the floods, an international scientific study using statistical models revealed the link between global warming and the recent catastrophe.
In the zone in question, stretching from Belgium to Switzerland, they showed that maximum precipitation due to climate change increased by between three and 19 per cent.
– Missing alarm –
Since the disaster, a number of early warning system failures have come to light.
Six days before the disaster on 8 July, the European warning system highlighted high flood risk in the region.
The German meteorological service and civil defense also issued warnings. But these were ignored.
Residents were “given the impression that it was heavy rain” but the “amount” was not made clear enough, a German official said after the floods.
A criminal investigation has been opened into “negligent homicide”, which targeted the Ahrweiler district chief, among others.
The German government now plans to issue telephone alerts, known as “cell broadcasting”.
Like a text message, the alert is sent to the mobile phones of people in high-risk areas. Unlike plain text, the alert is sent and received even when the network is overloaded.
Officials also want to replace bonnets, many of which have been removed in recent years.
Flash floods that left a trail of destruction in Europe Source link Flash floods that left a trail of destruction in Europe