Thousands evacuated in deadly German flooding, with more rain to come

Thousands of people were evacuated during the weekend, and an emergency rescuer was killed amid severe flooding in southern Germany, as heavy rains and flooding across two states caused further disruption on Sunday.

Some 3,000 people in Bavaria were evacuated from flooded areas, a state interior ministry spokeswoman said on Sunday.

Around 20,000 emergency responders are currently being deployed for the numerous rescue operations across Bavaria and neighbouring Baden-Wrttemberg, due to floods after days of continuous rain.

In total, at least 40,000 rescuers have participated in rescue efforts since Friday, while Germany’s army also stepped in to help as rivers in the region swelled.

A firefighter died overnight after his rubber dinghy, capsized in the Bavarian town of Pfaffenhofen an der Ilm, which lies some 40 kilometres north of Munich.

His three colleagues in the boat were able to pull themselves to safety, but the firefighter’s body was found early on Sunday morning, local authorities said.

The respo
nders had been on their way to rescue a family in the severely flooded area. There were no details on what happened to the family.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday, expressed his condolences on the social media platform X. ‘The death of a firefighter in Pfaffenhofen has shocked me,’ he said, adding that his thoughts were with the firefighter’s relatives and colleagues.

Scholz is set to visit the region on Monday. He is due to visit Upper Bavaria in the morning together with Bavarian premier, Markus Söder, and the state interior minister, Joachim Herrmann.

Söder earlier thanked the emergency responders deployed across the state, Germany’s largest by area.

‘The most important thing is to arrange their relief over the hours ahead,’ Söder told journalists in Reichertshofen in Upper Bavaria, which lies just to the north of Pfaffenhofen. He expressed concerns for the safety of rescue workers who had been working for too long without a break.

A fire services spokesman said the flooding in the region was
unpredictable, and the most extreme seen to date.

Earlier, the German Meteorological Service (DWD) said some regions in southern Germany, recorded more than a month’s worth of rain within 24 hours.

Kisslegg in the south-western state of Baden-Wrttemberg recorded 130 millimetres of rain on Friday alone, the DWD reported. The region normally reports 118mm per month at this time of year.

In Bavaria’s Bad Wörishofen, 129mm fell within 24 hours, by comparison with a monthly average of 101mm.

The Swabian Alps south of Stuttgart, as well as the regions around Augsburg, Nuremberg, Bamberg and Regensburg were reported to be at particular risk from thunderstorms on Sunday.

Further heavy rainfall is forecast. The DWD warned of extreme amounts of rain, especially in southern Germany.

As a consequence, at least 40 schools in eight of Bavaria’s administrative districts cancelled classes for part of the coming week due to the floods, the state education ministry said.

Source: Ghana News Agency