The raging floods in Europe trigger in-depth reflection

On the 20th local time, Belgium will hold a national mourning to mourn the people who died in the flood. As of the 19th, the country’s Prime Minister De Crowe described the flood as “the most catastrophic flood in history” and 36 people have died. In Germany, where the disaster is more serious, the number is 165, and it is still likely to rise. As the floods receded, devastating and devastating disasters gradually emerged. In several Western European countries that were severely affected, the people and the media who had stepped out of the initial panic began to question the government’s ability to prevent and respond to disasters. In 2016, severe flooding occurred in the Yangtze River basin in China. A set of comparative photos of German metal flood control walls and sandbags used for flood fighting in China circulated on the Internet. Some people praised Germany, which has the so-called “flood fighting artifact”. Today, the Russian “Viewpoint” lamented that “severe floods have shattered the myth of German order.” After Texas in the United States fell into a power crisis due to the extreme cold weather, Western society has once again encountered an infrastructure disaster. German “Rhine Post” quoted German Social Democratic Party Federal Member Lauterbach as saying on the 19th: “Our preparedness for disaster control is as bad as our response to the new crown pneumonia epidemic.”

“The disaster is not over yet”

The Brassels and their two sons suffered a “sudden” flood last Thursday night at their home in Pepinster, Belgium. The 42-year-old Paul Blassel recalled the situation to the Associated Press on the 19th, but he still had lingering fears. “It was like a tsunami. We stayed on the roof for 9 hours.” During this period, they watched the surrounding buildings collapse, and the people on the roof fell into the water and were swept away by the rapids. The Associated Press said that now as the floods recede, people’s attention has turned to more difficult tasks-how to deal with the huge damage and losses caused by the floods.

According to a report by the Belgian RTBF TV station on the 19th, the latest data released by the country’s official on the same day showed that the death toll caused by the flood has risen to 36, and there are still more than 160 people unaccounted for. The Belgian National Crisis Management Center said on the evening of the 18th that the rescue operation has ended, but it will continue to search for the victims in some areas. Cleaning up the disaster area and counting the losses is a top priority. At present, tens of thousands of families in the country still have power outages and gas, and nearly half of the country’s train services have been interrupted. The most worrying is the lack of drinking water in some of the most affected areas. “Global Times” reporters saw in the neighborhoods of Brussels that the Red Cross has set up a donation point here, hoping to receive donations of funds, bedding, cleaning supplies, etc.

While this heavy rainfall hit Belgium, it also caused floods in Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Austria, among which Germany was the most serious. Agence France-Presse reported on the 19th that the death toll caused by the floods in Germany rose to 165 that day, and emergency services continued to search for dozens of people still missing in the affected towns. Many of the victims drowned when they went to the basement to rescue their belongings, and many were washed away by the flood. In some areas, the police dispatched speedboats and divers to salvage the bodies. On the muddy and rubble streets of a small town in Germany, the resident Seehofer told AFP reporters that this was an “incredible tragedy” that had never been experienced in his life.

According to Deutsche News Agency, on the 19th, the floods in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany have basically subsided, but many local telecommunication networks are still paralyzed, and many people cannot get in touch. Large amounts of oil, diesel and other pollutants float on the waterways of North Rhine-Westphalia, which are very dangerous. Landsberg, chairman of the German Towns Association, said: “According to current estimates, the losses may reach billions of euros.” The German “Bild” reported that there were looting incidents in some disaster areas. When the people returned to their destroyed house, they found that the thieves had stolen what they had left.

On Monday, the floods began to spread to southern and eastern Germany. On the same day, the water level of the Danube rose to 8.5 meters, and the flood entered the small city of Passau in southeastern Bavaria. In the Berchtesgaden region of the state, floods have caused at least two deaths. A representative of the German federal government said that the federal and state governments are discussing about 400 million euros to provide emergency assistance to the victims. The cabinet is expected to launch emergency assistance and a multi-billion-dollar long-term reconstruction plan on Wednesday. “The disaster is not over yet.” The governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rachelt, warned that reconstruction work will take months or even years.

According to a report by RIA Novosti on the 19th, the spokesperson of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zakharova expressed sincere condolences to the German people suffering from the flood that day, and wished them a strong response to the disaster and recovery as soon as possible. The spokeswoman, who has always been sharp-spoken, also recalled the cartoon published by the “Voice of Germany” during the floods in the Oklasnoyarsk Territory in 2019. The cartoon depicts the chief of the Krai flying over the disaster area in a helicopter and rudely speaking to the residents who avoided the flood on the roof. According to the Russian TASS news agency, Zakharova posted this cartoon on social media and suggested that “Voice of Deutsche Welle” add a proverb to the cartoon, “Don’t dig pits for others, and you will fall yourself.”

“European countries lose their sense of risk”

Although the scale of the flood disaster was described by German Chancellor Merkel as “exceeding real imagination” and the extent of the damage “can hardly be described in German terms”, public information shows that floods occur from time to time in Europe. In 2002, central Europe was hit by a rare catastrophic flood, which caused nearly 100 deaths and tens of billions of euros in economic losses in Germany, Russia, Austria, and the Czech Republic. In 2013, a disaster called the “Flood of the Century” by the media once again struck Central and Eastern Europe. The water levels of some rivers reached their peaks in nearly 400 years. The floods killed at least 20 people and forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes.

“Unbelievable ignorance makes disaster possible,” the German “Le Monde” commented that the risks are well known. Like this heavy rain, the possibility can be known from the historical chronicles, but the government, politicians and the media only It will be emphasized that the cause of floods is climate change. Because this helps politicians find excuses for negligence, and Germany’s disaster control has returned to the level of developing countries. German News Television on the 19th criticized “European countries have lost their sense of risk.”

According to the European version of Political News Network, the European Flood Warning System issued “life-threatening” flood warnings to governments earlier this week, but people were either evacuated too late or not informed at all. The scene seen in the past few days is conceivable in a country with extremely limited communication networks, not in Europe’s richest and super-connected regions. Hannah Klock, a professor of hydrology at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom, told Deutsche Television II that the alarm failed to elicit a response and it was “incredibly frustrating”.

When it is time to reflect, some politicians are still using disasters to attack each other or shirk responsibility. German “Bild” reported that the German opposition party asked the German Federal Interior Minister Seehofer to resign. The Liberal Democratic Party accused the Ministry of the Interior of not issuing an alarm in time, exposing considerable systemic flaws. The left-wing party criticized this as a serious political error and cannot be forgiven. Seehofer refuted the claims, arguing that the alert had been passed to the local authorities, who made their own decisions. “I have to say that some of the remarks I have heard are cheap election rhetoric.” He said this when inspecting the Steinbach Reservoir in western Germany on the 19th.

In Belgium, people are dissatisfied with the national relief project. Funding for the project was cut in 2017 due to financial constraints, and six rescue centers were reduced to two. During the disaster relief process, the defects of the equipment were also completely exposed. Because the power of the small boats used by the army and firefighters was too small to drive safely in the strong torrent, three rescued victims were caught in the torrent. Russia’s “Moscow Communist Youth League” commented that this is a huge disaster, proving that European infrastructure is very fragile in the face of natural and man-made disasters.

Increasing extreme weather cannot be ignored

“How many lives can we accept?” The European version of Political News Network said that the floods in Europe exposed the ignorance of climate change warnings. Oze, a climatologist at the University of Liège in Belgium, recalled in his mind how often does a flood of this scale happen before human activities increase the temperature by more than 1 degree Celsius? Now climate change is changing the way storms behave. From now to the end of this century, how many times will such extreme weather events occur? He thinks it may be five or six times, “This is a brand new disaster for the region.”

The Associated Press reported that meteorological scientists gave two meteorological reasons for the flood: First, for every 1 degree Celsius increase in temperature, the air will absorb 7% more humidity. Once released, it will cause a lot of rainfall. Another decisive factor is that the duration of a storm in one place is often much longer than usual, which gives

A certain area brings heavy rainfall. With the weakening of the atmospheric jets caused by the warming climate in Europe, the tortuous course of the storm stopped, sometimes staying in one place for several days.

“Flood in Europe: a desperate summer.” An editorial on the subject of the UAE Gulf News Network on the 19th stated that the world is changing. For those who doubt the science of climate change, they only need to look at Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and The damage suffered by most of Luxembourg is enough. CNN said that although scientists are now saying that it is too early to determine how much climate change played in the catastrophic flood, they believe that climate change will undoubtedly intensify from the western United States, Canada to Siberia to the Rhine in Europe. Extreme weather in the region.