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“We have many, many citizens saying 'I can offer a place to stay. Where can I go to help? ... Where can I bring my shovel and bucket?' ... The city is standing together, and you can feel that.”

Erik Schulz, mayor of the German city of Hagen, on people coming together and helping those affected by the flooding in Europe.

Published on

jul 16, 2021

  • Severe weather causing heavy rainfall in western Europe has led to devastating flooding, with the death toll over 125 as of Friday. Hundreds more are unaccounted for.
  • Germany was hit the hardest, followed by Belgium, with rivers overflowing: "The floods have literally pulled the ground from beneath many people's feet ... They lost their houses, farms or businesses," said Armin Laschet, governor of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
  • Around 15,000 soldiers, police, and emergency service workers have been deployed to help with search-and-rescue efforts in Germany. Austria, Italy, and France are among those who have sent help to Belgium.
    • Weather conditions are expected to improve over the weekend, bringing hope for rescue efforts. However, continued rain is expected in Switzerland through the weekend, and thousands have been evacuated from the southern Netherlands following broken river infrastructure that brought the Maas River's water level to its highest since 1911.

Big Picture: The flooding has caused Germany's "worst mass loss of life in years," (Reuters). Some scientists, meteorologists, and politicians have attributed the magnitude of the flooding to climate change. World Meteorological Organization spokesperson Clare Nullis explained that it's too early to attribute the floods to rising global temperatures, but noted that sections of Western Europe "... received up to two months of rainfall in the space of two days ..." with climate change "increasing the frequency of extreme events."

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