Heavy rain over the weekend has led to flooding in the southern Germany states of Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg resulting in at least four fatalities and causing disruptions. Authorities warn that water levels could rise further in the coming days.

Germany Floods: At Least 4 Dead and Thousands Evacuated

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A 42-year-old firefighter died during rescue operations when a rescue boat carrying four firefighters capsized on Saturday. His body was recovered early Sunday in Pfaffenbach an der Ilm about 50 km north of Munich.

A 43-year-old woman’s body was discovered in a flooded basement in Schrobenhausen, Bavaria. Two more bodies were found in the basement of a building in Schorndorf, Baden-Württemberg.

Another firefighter remains missing after a rubber dinghy capsized near Offingen in Bavaria. Around 3,000 residents were evacuated from their homes as rising water levels cut off several areas.

Authorities in Asbach-Bäumenheim ordered an emergency evacuation for residents of Hamlar on the Donau River due to a dam breach threat.

Evacuees were directed to reception points such as an event venue in Asbach-Bäumenheim for those unable to secure private accommodation.

Residents of the Rems and Murr rivers in Baden-Württemberg were warned of rising water levels despite the rain subsiding. A nursing home in Steinheim an der Murr was evacuated due to flooding.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited the flood hit regions on Monday accompanied by Interior Minister Nancy Faeser and Bavarian Premier Markus Söder.

Economy Minister and Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, during a visit on Sunday highlighted the role of climate change in increasing the frequency and severity of natural disasters.

Bavaria’s state premier Markus Söder warned that the floods are expected to continue until Wednesday or Thursday, urging residents to follow evacuation instructions. He called for federal support addressing the damage expected.

Both Scholz and Habeck pointed out the role of climate change in the increasing frequency of extreme weather events.

The premier of Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann stressed the need for Germans to adapt to frequent flooding indicating that climate change is likely contributing to these events.

Söder suggested compulsory insurance for property owners against natural disasters indicating that the state cannot always cover these damages.

The Paar dam in Pfaffenhofen an der Ilm suffered three breaches leading to further evacuations and the involvement of 4,000 emergency workers and Bundeswehr soldiers.

Esslingen am Neckar built a temporary dam to protect the city center from flooding. Parts of the Rhine River were closed to shipping due to high water levels, affecting the Upper and the Middle Rhine regions. This suspension was a direct result of the storm and flooding.

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Deutsche Bahn reported severe disruptions to rail services in southern Germany. Long-distance trains between Stuttgart and Munich were canceled and passengers were advised to avoid traveling to the flood-affected areas. Refunds and flexible ticket usage were offered to affected passengers.

The Bavarian city of Regensburg declared a state of emergency as the Danube River reached a critical level of 5.8 meters with further rises expected. Temporary measures such as stone and sand barriers were implemented to tackle flooding.

The floods have claimed at least four lives. On Monday, the body of a 43-year-old woman was found in a basement in Schrobenhausen, Bavaria.

Later the same day, a man and a woman were discovered dead in the basement of their house in Schorndorf, near Stuttgart. Additionally, a volunteer firefighter lost his life on Sunday after his rescue vessel overturned.

A 22-year-old volunteer is still missing after his boat overturned during a rescue operation on Sunday night. Search efforts have been hampered by the exceptionally high waters and strong currents.

Thousands of residents in Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg have been evacuated from their homes due to the flooding.

In Bavaria, about 800 people were asked to leave their homes in the area of Ebenhausen-Werk after a dam burst on Monday.

Residents in the hardest-hit areas including Manching-Pichl have been instructed to shelter on the upper floors of their homes.

Authorities have been working around the clock to provide emergency accommodations and ensure the safety of evacuees.

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The floods have caused disruptions to transportation in long-distance rail routes to Munich from the north and west, which were out of action on Monday.

Passengers stranded overnight were given refuge in trains in Stuttgart, Nuremberg, and Munich. The carmaker Audi has suspended production at its Bavarian plant in Ingolstadt due to flooding from the river Danube.

Germany Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited the flooded regions on Monday including a stop in Reichertshofen, north of Munich. “This is not just one event like there have been for centuries,” Scholz said.

Bavarian State Premier Markus Söder, who accompanied Scholz said that the situation remains critical and tense with water levels expected to rise in cities like Regensburg and further down the Danube.

Around 20,000 rescue workers have been deployed in Bavaria alone to tackle the flood’s aftermath. This includes the Germany military and the national relief organization, THW, which have been instrumental in rescue operations and clearing dangerous obstacles.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser highlighted that the rescue mechanisms have improved since the devastating floods in the Ahrtal region three years ago, which claimed 135 lives. “I think we’re functioning far better now in terms of coordination, and in our cooperation,” Faeser said.

The Germany Weather Service has issued new warnings for heavy rain in parts of southern and eastern Germany suggesting that the flood situation could worsen in the coming days.

Authorities remain on high alert with emergency services prepared for additional evacuations if necessary.

Farmers’ representatives have warned that the floodwaters could have impact on this year’s harvest, compounding the economic damage from the flooding.

Environmentalists are calling for greater recognition of the link between the increased incidence of heavy rains and climate change. They urge both politicians and the public to take more actions to tackle these impacts.

The current flooding brings back memories of previous record deluges in 2013 and 2002. The city of Regensburg with a population of 150,000 has announced a state of emergency as water levels approach critical thresholds.

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