Some of the worst damage is in Germany, where heavy rainy days have turned the streets into muddy rivers. European leaders blamed the extreme weather on climate change.
As the floodwaters begin to recede, the scale of the disaster is laid bare. Once thriving communities are now in ruins after flooding unprecedented in generations, Imtiaz Tyab reports for “CBS This Morning: Saturday”.
“There are so many deaths,” said Monica Decker. “You don’t expect people to die in a flood in Germany. You might expect it in poor countries, but you don’t expect it here. But it was all too fast, too fast. ”
Climatologists have predicted for years that summer precipitation and heat waves would become more intense as a result of human-induced climate change. But the disaster exceeded all expectations.
The speed at which large parts of Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands were submerged has shocked climatologists. Despite being among the wealthiest nations in Western Europe, their defenses fell short of the flood, after two months of rain fell in just two days.
The fear now is that if left unchecked it will only get worse.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier pledged to do more, saying: “Only if we tackle climate change decisively can we control extreme weather conditions such as the ones we are experiencing today.
In some of the worst affected areas, emergency teams have begun the colossal task of cleaning up the devastated streets of once picturesque towns and villages. Efforts are also underway to restore gas, electricity and telephone services, which are still cut off for at least 100,000 households.