German flooding dead put at 58 with dozens still missing

 Germany’s worst flooding for years has left 58 people dead with dozens missing following days of heavy rain that senior politicians are linking to climate change. 

Rivers burst their banks across large parts of western Germany, with the floodwater sweeping away houses standing in its path. German TV news showed images of town centers littered with the debris of ruined houses, uprooted trees, and overturned cars.

 Helicopters winched dozens of people to safety from treetops and the roofs of their houses as floodwater surged around them.

 Twenty people died in and around the Rhine city of Cologne, with two of them drowning in their own flooded cellars. As many as 165,000 have been left without electricityAngela Merkel, who is in Washington for talks with US president Joe Biden, promised government help to those affected by the floods.

 The victims could “rest assured that we will deploy all the powers of the state to save lives, avert threats and relieve people’s distress”, the German chancellor said. 

Armin Laschet, governor of North Rhine-Westphalia and the candidate for chancellor in Germany’s national election in September from the center-right CDU/CSU bloc, visited one of the worst-hit towns, Hagen, and, while there, linked the floods to climate change.“We will be faced with such events over and over, and that means we need to speed up climate protection measures — on the European, federal, and global level — because climate change isn’t confined to one state,” he said.

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