German Chancellor Angela Merkel described this sunday the floods that devastated parts of Europe as “terrifying”, with the death toll reaching 188 after a district in Bavaria was hit by extreme weather conditions.
Merkel promised quick financial aid after visiting one of the areas most affected by historical rains and floods, who left at least 157 deaths in the Germany, in the country’s worst natural disaster in nearly six decades.
“It’s terrifying,” she told residents of the small town of Adenau in the state of Renania Palatinato. “The German language can barely describe the devastation that took place.”
The German government will make available over 300 million euros in immediate aid and billions of euros to repair damaged houses, streets and bridges, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz told the weekly newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
The scale of the floods could also impact the German election in September next year. North Rhine-Westphalia Premier Armin Laschet, who is a CDU candidate to replace Merkel, apologized for laughing behind the scenes as German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke to the press after visiting the town of Erftstadt , which was devastated.
On Belgium, which will have a national day of mourning on Tuesday, water levels dropped on Sunday and the debris-clearing operation is underway. Military personnel were sent to the town of Pepinster, where several buildings collapsed, to look for more victims. Tens of thousands of people are without electricity, and Belgian authorities say the supply of fresh water is also a major concern.