Flooding continued to wreak havoc in parts of Europe on Saturday.Emergency crews rescued people from homes in the Austrian region of Salzburg, where floodwaters submerged the streets of one town. The fire brigade said the capital Vienna saw more rainfall in an hour on Saturday night than in the previous seven weeks combined.Meanwhile in Germany, concern shifted south to the Upper Bavaria region, where heavy rains deluged basements and roads.In western Germany, authorities said the Steinbachtal dam remained at risk of breaching after residents were evacuated from homes downstream.European leaders have blamed climate change for the floods, which have also affected Switzerland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.Experts say global warming makes torrential rainfall more likely. The world has already warmed by about 1.2C since the industrial era began.
At least 156 people are now known to have died in the floods in Germany, including four firefighters.The states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland have been the worst affected.Thousands of people were reported missing during the height of the floods, but many have since been accounted for.In the spa town of Bad Neuenahr in Rhineland-Palatinate’s Ahrweiler district, residents were determined to begin the clean-up operation, scraping mud from the streets and clearing piles of debris.But the task is huge, with many businesses and livelihoods in the town swept away, electricity and gas still cut off and communication lines destroyed.”Everything is completely destroyed, you don’t recognise the scenery,” wine shop owner Michael Lang told Reuters.Baker Gregor Degen told AFP news agency he had gathered a group of neighbours to start clearing away mud and debris.
He had been ready to go to work the day after the floods but water levels were too high, he said. More than 110 people have been killed and 670 injured in Ahrweiler, police say.
n North Rhine-Westphalia emergency workers have begun removing abandoned cars from the flood-hit B265 road.Fire service spokesman Elmar Mettke said the cars had been checked for bodies while still submerged.Meanwhile a senior German politician has been criticised for laughing during a visit to affected areas. (BBC)