Four dead in floods that swept southern Germany

Rescuers scrambled on Monday to evacuate people from floods in southern Germany that claimed four lives in what Chancellor Olaf Scholz called a “warning” that climate change is getting worse.

Thousands of people in the regions of Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg were forced to flee their homes as torrential rains on Friday triggered deadly floods.

Several evacuations were called for overnight on Monday as the huge volumes of water caused flood defenses to fail.

In Bavaria, around 800 people were asked to leave their homes in the Ebenhausen-Werk area after a dam burst on Monday morning.

Residents around Manching-Pichl, the area worst affected by the floods, were told to take shelter on the upper floors of their houses.

Speaking on a visit to Reichertshofen, a flood-hit area north of Munich, Scholz said such floods were no longer “unique”.

“This is an indication that something is up here. We must not neglect the task of stopping human-caused climate change,” Scholz told reporters.

The floods were “a warning that we have to take with us,” he said.

– ‘Never before’ –

Bavarian state premier Markus Soeder, who accompanied Scholz on his visit, said there was no “complete insurance” against climate change.

“Events are happening here that have never happened before,” Soeder said after districts in his region of Bavaria declared a state of emergency.

About 20,000 people in Bavaria alone have been deployed to deal with the aftermath of the floods, he said.

Police in Baden-Wuerttemberg said on Monday that a man and a woman were found dead in the basement of their home in Schorndorf following the flood.

The same fate befell a 43-year-old woman from Schrobenhausen, Bavaria, whose body was found by rescuers earlier on Monday.

The findings brought the flood death toll to at least four, following the death of a volunteer firefighter whose body was found on Sunday.

The 42-year-old volunteer died after his boat capsized during a flood rescue operation.

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

A search operation to find the missing rescuer had to be called off due to exceptionally high waters and strong currents, local police said.

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

– Railway delays –

Widespread flooding and continued rainfall affected transport in the region with widespread train cancellations and delays.

Train lines leading from Munich to Stuttgart, Nuremberg and Würzburg were unusable, rail operator Deutsche Bahn said.

A landslide near Schwaebisch Gmuend overnight into Sunday caused a high-speed train traveling between Stuttgart and Augsburg to derail, blocking the line. No one was injured in the incident.

Despite Scholz’s pledge to tackle climate change, a panel of experts said separately on Monday that the government’s emissions projections until 2030 were unrealistic.

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

Experts generally assumed the government’s 2030 emissions reduction target “will not be met”.


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