Germany floods: Before and after satellite images show devastation caused
More than 190 people have died as heavy rainfall caused severe flooding in parts of western Europe last week, with the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate one of the worst-hit areas.
The floods last week affected several western European countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany – where towns have been left decimated.
More than 160 people were killed in Germany alone, with one of the worst-hit areas in the west German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, which shares a border with Belgium and Luxembourg.
Satellite pictures from the state show destroyed buildings and fields, and severely swollen rivers.
The district of Ahrweiler in Rhineland-Palatinate, south of Cologne, was the worst-hit area, with at least 117 people killed.
Schuld, a village on a tight curve of the Ahr River, was hit particularly hard by rapidly rising floodwater on the night of 14 July but luckily nobody was killed or injured.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Schuld on Sunday as it remained strewn with rubble and mud.
She said it was a “surreal, ghostly situation” and the German language “barely has words for the devastation that has been wreaked”.
Satellite pictures show fields and buildings near the riverbank decimated and the small river drastically widened.
The nearby historic town of Antweiler had its bridges smashed, roads torn up by the floods and homes destroyed.
Germany is now starting a massive re-build plan as Mrs Merkel said authorities will work to “set the world right again in this beautiful region, step by step” and her cabinet will approve an immediate and medium-term financial aid programme on Wednesday.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer rejected criticism on Monday that the government failed to warn people of the floods, saying flood warnings were up to local authorities as “you need local knowledge”.
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