France, Germany, and parts of Central Europe were hit by flash floods in the first week of June, after several days of intense thunder and rain storms. The unusual weather event has claimed ten lives in Germany, two in France and Romania respectively, and one in Belgium, however, this figure could yet rise, as there are a number of ‘unaccounted’ persons in Germany.
The south of the country was worst affected by the waters, particularly the region of Rottall Inn where several disaster relief centres have been established. In the local town of Triftern, trees, cars and furniture were seen drifting along the street as waters rose to several feet above road level. Several families had to be rescued by emergency helicopter teams.
In France, the River Seine rose to six metres higher than its regular level, the water reaching its highest level since 1982, according to the French Environment Ministry. The Zouave Statue, beneath the Alma Bridge, is traditionally used as a gauge of the Seine’s height; it’s highest recording in modern times was during ‘The Flood of the Century’ in 1910, when the water level peaked at 8.6 metres, reaching the statue’s shoulders.
Last week, the flood waters reached a height of approximately 6.5 metres, marked at the statue’s waist.
Speaking to the international media, French President, Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency in the country’s worst affected areas and asserted that weather events such as this are a “serious climate phenomenon” and reiterated the challenge that climate change poses to the world.
Recovery from the floods in France is particularly pressurised, as the country prepares for this evening’s (June 10th) launch of the European Football Championships in towns and cities across the country.
Officials had hoped that the championships would go some way to repairing the country’s tourism reputation that had been somewhat damaged by last year’s terror attacks in January and November, however, several public viewing areas around the Eiffel Tower were destroyed.