Massive floods in Europe have caused destruction across 5 countries
Rainfall continues in Europe’s worst flood in 100 years. More than 120 people have died and more than 1,300 people are still missing
Massive flooding occurred in Germany and other neighboring European countries on Thursday. The flash floods have killed more than 120 people with more than 1,300 people assumed missing, reported CNN. The floods have destroyed buildings and disrupted transportation across the affected regions, per NPR.
- More than two months’ worth of rain fell in just one to two days, according to The Associated Press.
- Western Germany has been most affected by the flooding, CNN reported.
- Multiple affected regions have declared a state of emergency, reported the AP.
Forecasts expect heavy rainfall to continue throughout Thursday and Friday with a drier weekend ahead, reported the BBC. Recovery efforts are underway.
What’s going on with the floods in Europe?
Heavy rainfall in Europe caused water levels to rise rapidly on Thursday. “In some areas, we have not seen this much rainfall in 100 years,” said Andreas Friedrich, a German weather service spokesperson, via CNN.
- Soldiers and other emergency response personnel have been deployed to help in Germany and Belgium, reported the BBC.
- Residents in areas near the flooding have been ordered to evacuate, reported the BBC. This includes all residents of Belgian’s third-largest urban area and many in low-lying areas of the Netherlands.
“The floods have literally pulled the ground from beneath many people’s feet,” said German Gov. Armin Laschet, per the AP. “They lost their houses, farms or businesses.”
How much destruction have the floods caused?
Across the affected region, the flooding has destroyed buildings and caused homes to collapse. Cars in the street were swept away by the floodwaters, per the AP. Numerous rivers and lakes have burst their banks. Many dams and dikes in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands remain at risk of collapsing.
- In Germany, more than 106 people were killed by the flash floods. More than 1,300 people are still missing, reported CNN.
- In Belgium, the flooding killed six people, per CNN.
- Authorities have no exact number for how many people have died. They expect these numbers to continue to rise as recovery efforts continue, according to CNN.
Transportation systems and infrastructure across the region have also been heavily impacted, per NPR. Flooding, landslides and mudslides have blocked important highways and made some regions inaccessible, particularly in Germany. Emergency crews must go by boat or helicopter to reach these areas, reported BBC.
- “For now we predict the worst of the torrential rainfall is over,” Friedrich said per CNN. “Though more heavy rain is due in southwestern Germany on ... (Thursday) and Friday,”
At least 42 people in Germany have died after floods caused by record rains. Homes were swept away or collapsed, and dozens were reported missing.— AJ+ (@ajplus) July 15, 2021
Officials linked the unusual extreme weather to the climate crisis: A weather service says about 2 months of rain fell in 1-2 days. pic.twitter.com/IHAbJKSXMa
Where did the flooding take place?
The flooding affected five countries in Europe: Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg, the Netherlands and France, reported the AP.
- The western German regions of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland remain the worst hit, per CNN.
- The Belgian region of Wallonia — near the German border — was also hard hit, per CNN.
By Friday, heavy rainfall in Switzerland had also led rivers and lakes to burst their banks, reported the AP.
What caused the flash floods?
Officials have begun to attribute the severity of the floods to planetary warming. According to NPR, “climate change now increases the risk of seasonal rains turning catastrophic.”
- While it is difficult to link one specific extreme weather event to climate change, it has increased the likelihood of extreme weather events, such as the massive flooding in Europe, per the AP.
- European politicians from the E.U. and numerous countries have voiced their support for the victims of the disaster and their willingness to provide emergency aid, reported CNN.