Germany floods: Death toll at 165, country vows to improve flood warning system

New Delhi Published: Jul 19, 2021, 07:54 PM(IST)

A damaged car is covered with rubble in the city of Altenahr, Rhineland-Palatinate, western Germany, on July 19, 2021 Photograph:( AFP )

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Germany is currently hit by worst floods in living memory

German government on Monday pledged to improve the nation's warning systems. The warning systems are under fire after worst floods in living memory. At least 165 people are confirmed dead now.

In the west of the country, floodwater swept away trees, cars and bridges and destroyed swathes of housing. Many victims were found in cellars after attempting to collect valuables. Others were swept away by the sheer force of floodwaters.

In Rhineland-Palatinate state, a total of 117 people are dead. In neighbouring North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) the death toll has reached 47. One person has died in Bavaria.

In Belgium, at least 31 people died due to floods. 

Torrential rains have caused havoc in southern Germant and neighbouring countries.

"We haven't been to all the houses yet, we must assume that we will find more bodies," said Rhineland Palatinate's regional interior minister Roger Lewentz. 

The number of people missing remains unclear, but Lewentz said authorities have been unable to reach more than a thousand in Rhineland-Palatinate, mainly because of disrupted communication networks.

The situation is similar in NRW, where police on Sunday said more than 700 residents initially unaccounted for had since been contacted, but several dozen remain missing.

Government spokeswoman Martina Fietz said the national warning system and mobile phone app Nina had "worked" but admitted that "our experiences with this disaster show that we need to do more and better".

Armin Schuster, president of the government's civil protection agency (BBK), called on German radio for sirens to be reinstated in more areas as part of the country's disaster warnings system.

(With inputs from agencies)

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