Angela Merkel has been warned the cleanup operation following devasting flooding in Western Germany “could take months.” Flood-wrecked communities in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia have been left reeling by the disaster which has been blamed on climate change. Reporting from the ground in Western Germany, BBC News host Kasia Madera has warned that ahead of sensitive German national elections in September the clean-up attempt was “just the beginning of what will be a very long conversation.”
“The clean-up operation is taking place a lot of people really pulling up their sleeves and getting involved,” said Ms Madera
“But it is of course a time of condolences the country is in mourning with so many people having lost their lives because of these floods.
Reporting from the town of Euskirchen, she continued: “So many questions as well about how well, how effective the alarm system was, who’s responsibility it was to warn the residents of places like this that the waters would be so bad.
“And of course this all feeds into the conversation about climate change and whether the policies need to be strengthened.
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“Angela Merkel was in the region yesterday talking about this, the need to strengthen policies when it comes to tackling climate change in order to avoid these kinds of extreme weather incidences.
“This huge amount of rainfall, two months’ worth of rain in the space of just 24 hours in places like this.
“The local community stunned, devasted,” she added.
“And of course with the elections coming up toward the end of September.
The incident involving Mr Laschet attracted fire from opposition politician Maximilian Reimers from the left-wing oarty Die Linke.
He penned on Twitter: “This is all apparently a big joke to Laschet. How could he be a chancellor?”
“This was inappropriate and I’m sorry,” said Mr Laschet said in a statement apologising for the incident.
“The fate of those affected is close to our hearts.”