Germany floods—a warning for future extreme weather events

Elsevier, The Lancet Regional Health - Europe, Volume 7, August 2021
Authors: 
The Lancet Regional Health - Europe

Parts of western Europe, including Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, have witnessed the worst flooding Europe has seen in living memory, after record rainfall caused swollen rivers to burst their banks beginning on July 13, 2021. With over 200 deaths as of July 22 (more than 170 in Germany and 32 in Belgium), hundreds injured, and many more still unaccounted for, Germany has been hit the hardest by this once in a century flooding event. The German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia and the Belgian city of Liège suffered the highest number of causalities. Fast-moving flood waters tossed and swept away vehicles, submerged villages, triggered landslides, destroyed water supply and discharge lines, and left over 200 000 homes without power. Members of the German military were deployed to help with rescue efforts, assisted by flood rescue teams from France, Italy, and Austria. The EU activated its Civil Protection Mechanism to support local flood rescue teams and the German government has announced over €300 million in aid, though the damage is expected to be in billions of euros.