Germany Floods – Shocking satellite images show devastation that’s killed 188 as ‘billion-euro’ clean up begins
SHOCKING satellite images show the devastation caused by floods in Germany that have killed 188 as the "billion-euro" clean up begins.
Compared to the same images from three years ago, the flooding has wiped out homes, bridges and builds and left smashed cars, mud and debris in its trail.
It comes as German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited hard-hit areas in the west of the country and talked to survivors and emergency workers.
And finance Minister Olaf Scholz announced that the German Government is piecing together a 300million euros (£257m) rescue package for the worst-hit areas.
Speaking with the Bild am Sonntag newspaper on Wednesday, he said Germany had no choice but to kickstart a rebuilding programme.
The minister added that the immediate relief package and the rebuild will cost billions of euros to fix collapsed houses, streets and bridges.
"There is huge damage and that much is clear: those who lost their businesses, their houses, cannot stem the losses alone."
There could also be a 10,000 euro short-term payment for businesses affected by the impact of the floods as well as the pandemic, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said.
Ms Merkel's visit to Schuld, situated on a curve of the river Ahr in the Ahrweiler district, west Germany, comes after President Frank-Walter Steinmeier went to the area on Saturday and made clear that it will need long-term support.
Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said he will propose a package of immediate aid at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, telling the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that more than 300 million euros (£257m) will be needed.
But he added that officials must start setting up a rebuilding programme, which would likely cost billions of euros.
Ms Merkel said following her visit: "We are by your side," describing the situation as "terrifying".
She added: "It is shocking – I can almost say that the German language doesn't have words for the destruction that's been wreaked.
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"What I could see, however, is also incredibly comforting – how people are sticking together, how they are helping each other, the solidarity that is there."
Pictures from towns and villages that were affected show huge piles of rubble, cars on their side and subsiding flood waters as locals band together to begin the clean-up.
The death toll from flooding in Western Europe climbed to 188 on Sunday after rescue workers dug deeper into debris left by receding waters.
In the Ahrweiler area of western Germany's Rhineland-Palatinate state, the number of recorded deaths has now surpassed 110 and police fear that figure may still rise.
In neighbouring North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state, 46 people were confirmed dead, including four firefighters, while Belgium has confirmed 27 casualties.
Meanwhile Pope Francis offered a prayer for the flood victims today and support to the 'efforts of all to help those who suffered great damage.'
In his first public appearance in St. Peter's Square after major surgery, he said: "I express my closeness to the populations of Germany, Belgium and Holland, hit by catastrophic flooding.
"May the Lord welcome the deceased and comfort the family members."
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