The death toll is 103 and rising from massive flash floods that caught Germany and its western neighbors off guard, as once-in-a-century rains weaponized swollen rivers and carved a path of destruction through ill-prepared villages,Deutshe Welle reports.
- Many people are still missing, including 1,300 in Bad Neuenahr, Germany (though downed mobile networks hinder accurate estimates)
- 14 confirmed deaths in Belgium; Luxembourg and the Netherlands also affected
Germany's meteorological service had issued extreme flood warnings, yet local authorities failed to grasp the urgency in what amounts to a catastrophic failure of the early alert system, according to Politico Europe.
The disaster is likely to place climate change center stage in upcoming elections.
If global warming breaches 1.5 C, “once-in-a-century flooding” could turn annual for 5 million Europeans, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned.