In many parts of western Germany, floods have been caused by continuous heavy rains over the past few days. According to a report by the German News Agency on the 18th, the German floods have caused at least 157 deaths and 670 injuries. German Chancellor Merkel visited the disaster area on the 18th and promised the greatest assistance. According to German media analysis, under the dual challenges of floods and epidemics, Merkel, who will leave office in September, is undergoing the final and greatest test of her ruling career.
According to the German news agency, according to the German police report, 155 people were killed in the hardest-hit areas of Rhineland-Palatinate (Laifa) and North Rhine-Westphalia (North Rhine-Westphalia), located in the south and east of Bavaria. Two people died in the states and Saxony. In some severely affected areas, a large number of houses were destroyed, communication towers collapsed, power and communication networks were cut off, and it was difficult for local governments to contact unaccounted persons. On the 17th, in the Eftsstadt area of North Rhine-Westphalia, water levels in many towns were still high. With the help of divers, rescuers stepped up their search for trapped vehicles on the flooded highway to ensure that no one was caught. Trapped in it.
According to a Reuters report on the 18th, as the rainfall center gradually shifted to southern Germany and Austria and other places, Berchtesgaden County, the location of the famous tourist attraction Königssee, in the Upper Bavaria Administrative Region of Bavaria in southern Germany, announced that it had entered a “disaster state” on the same day. A local spokesperson said that the flood caused a large number of mudslides, and the fire rescue department has been overwhelmed.
In addition to Germany, countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands have also been affected by heavy rainfall, causing floods. Among them, the floods in southeastern Belgium have caused at least 31 deaths, and hundreds of others are missing.
According to a report on the 18th in the German “Le Monde”, German Chancellor Merkel, accompanied by the governor of Lefah, Dreyer, visited the town of Schulder in the Eifel region of the state on the same day (pictured above). Merkel learned about the local disaster and relief situation from the town mayor, people and rescuers. According to the report, the town of Schulder, with 660 residents, was almost completely destroyed. “This idyllic town now smells of feces and rotting. It is almost like a post-war ruin.” Merkel sighed after the inspection: “I can almost say that this is the indescribable destruction of the German vocabulary.”
According to a report on the 18th in the German “Sunday Bild”, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on the same day that the German government will prepare more than 300 million euros in immediate relief funds and billions of euros for repairing collapsed houses, Streets and bridges. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer stated that the federal government will provide financial support to the disaster areas as soon as possible, and the relief package will be submitted to the Cabinet for consideration on the 21st. According to reports, this is another major burden for the German government, which is heavily indebted because of the epidemic.
German News Television said on the 18th that Germany will usher in the Bundestag election in September, and the floods will also have an impact on the election of the chancellor candidates. According to a report on the 17th in the German edition of the European news website “thelocal”, the president of the German CDU, Rachelt, who is regarded as a popular candidate for “Merkel’s successor”, accompanied President Steinmeier to inspect the disaster in North Rhine-Westphalia that day , Guilty of anger due to laughter. According to the report, when Steinmeier expressed his sympathy for the victims to the media, Raschelt behind him was chatting with the people on the left and right, and laughed. This move quickly aroused criticism from the outside world. “Sunday Bild” criticized: “The whole country is crying, but Raschelt is laughing.” The Secretary-General of the Social Democratic Party Klingbyer criticized Raschelt on Twitter for “lack of sensitivity.” Lashet later posted an apology on Twitter, saying that he was worried about the situation of the victims and regretted the impression that his actions made. “This is very inappropriate. I’m sorry.”
The European version of the US Political News Network said on the 18th that at the same time, the Green Party, which is second only to the ruling coalition in polls, was “cautious” in responding to disasters. Addressing climate change is the core issue of the Green Party, but it is risky to politicize amidst the national tragedy. A senior member of the Green Party was criticized for using the disaster for personal gain on the 15th for criticizing the policies of opponents’ political parties through floods. A poll published on the 12th by the European version of the US Political News Network showed that the gap between the CDU/CSU and the Green Party is widening. The latest data shows that the CDU/CSU has a support rate of 29%, the Green Party is 18%, and the Social Democratic Party is 16%.
In addition to the floods, the situation of the new crown pneumonia epidemic in Germany is still severe. According to a report by “Deutsche Welle” on the 18th, the 7-day infection rate (that is, the number of newly confirmed cases per 100,000 people in 7 days) announced by the Robert Koch Institute, the German disease control agency, rose to 10. An important indicator for monitoring the severity of the epidemic has rebounded for 11 consecutive days. The number of newly confirmed diagnoses and the number of new deaths announced on the same day were 1,292 and 3 respectively. The total number of confirmed diagnoses and 91,362 deaths are currently 3,746,681. As of now, about 45.9% of people in Germany are fully vaccinated against the new crown.
German News Television said that although it is only a few months away from resignation, Merkel’s task is quite heavy. In addition to the epidemic, she is also facing floods and economic recovery. Merkel also does not seem to see the gesture of saying goodbye. She is still working hard, and the handover of Merkel’s “last shot” is not easy.