Germany floods: Drone images capture devastation in Insul
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Catastrophic floods have struck western Europe this week. Recovery efforts are underway after heavy rains saw terrifying floods hit areas of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands between Tuesday and Thursday. At least 150 have been killed in the floods, with many of these victims recorded in Germany where the most extreme rains hit but 20 deaths have also been recorded in Belgium.
Hundreds are still missing, the German authorities said on Friday as waters continue to rise along with power outages and landslides reported across the country.
The loss of life and damage has been devastating. Images from the affected regions show entire villages underwater in Belgium and Germany.
Buildings have collapsed, cars submerged and huge amounts of debris have been swept across the affected areas.
The extreme rainfall has also impacted Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
How much rain has fallen?
Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia have been worst hit by the rains in Germany. worst-affected states in Germany
The floods in Germany show the urgent need to act on climate change says the European Commission.
The historic floods have been caused by the highest amount of rainfall in living memory.
According to Deutscher Wetterdienst, the German meteorological service, more than 7.2 inches (182mm) fell in just 72 hours between 12 and 15 July.
The city of Cologne was among the worst affected parts of Germany, Köln-Stammheim an area of the city that experienced a deluge of 153mm of rain in a day, that’s six times the average heaviest rainfall days for that area in July.
According to the Deutscher Wetterdienst in the worst affected parts of Germany, two months’ worth of rain fell in just 24 hours.
A map by Deutscher Wetterdienst shows the floods were a one-in-100-year event or one that has just a one percent chance of happening in any given year.
Many places in Western Germany received a staggering amount of rain, between Tuesday and Thursday, anywhere between five to seven inches, with locally higher amounts.
Lots of the heaviest downpours happened on Wednesday night into Thursday.
Here a catastrophic amount of rain fell – amounting to more than a half-foot in less than 12 hours.
Why have the floods been so severe?
The floods resulted from a rare combination of weather factors that produced exceptionally high rainfall.
A storm system or zone of low pressure over Central Europe which has since been named “Bernd” was trapped between areas of high pressure to the west and east.
The low-pressure zone unloaded torrential rain in the areas affected over three days.
Many have said the intensity of the floods was exacerbated by human-driven climate change.
Some had said the flooding is a clear signal that stronger action is needed to combat climate change.
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has said: “It is the intensity and the length of the events that science tells us this is a clear indication of climate change and that this is something that really, really shows the urgency to act.”
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