German, Holland Governments Failed To Act, When European Flood System Warned Them of Threat
July 19, 2021 (EIRNS)—The Sunday Times broke the story that the German government was warned in advance by European weather institutions about the coming flood but failed to act.
“The first signs of catastrophe were detected nine days ago by a satellite orbiting 500 miles above the tranquil hills around the Rhine river,” the Times wrote yesterday.
“Over the next few days a team of scientists sent the German authorities a series of forecasts so accurate that they now read like a macabre prophecy: the Rhineland was about to be hit by ‘extreme’ flooding, particularly along the Erft and Ahr rivers, and in towns such as Hagen and Altena. Yet despite at least 24 hours’ warning that predicted, almost precisely, which districts would be worst affected when the rains came, the flood still caught many of its victims largely unawares.”
Hydrologist Hannah Cloke from the Reading University, who works for the European Flood Awareness System (EFAS) warning system, said EFAS had sent “warnings to the German and Belgian government” on July 10. “They should have warned the population,” she told the Times, emphasizing that it is useless to have giant computer models that forecast weather accurately, if the population do not know what to do in a flood. “The fact that people were not evacuated or did not receive warnings strongly suggests that something went wrong.” It is a “monumental systemic failure.”
The Interior Ministry of North Rhine-Westphalia state, where the German flooding was worst, claimed that all official warnings were sent on to the districts and individual cities. A war room was set up on Tuesday, July 13 in order to recognize at an early stage whether regional help was needed in a district or city. But tragically this led to no action. And farmers who later reached flooded villages with their tractors complained to Bild and other reporters that no firefighter, no policeman or army official had been seen in three days.
In an earlier “extreme event”—a gale with 200 kph winds and storm surge 3 meters above high tide—hit Hamburg in 1962, the city’s Interior Minister Helmut Schmidt took command over a paralyzed city council and called in the army, which was formally forbidden by Germany’s Constitution. Schmidt even asked the U.S. Army for help, and many lives were saved by the use of helicopters. Schmidt’s Entschlossenheit—determination—is nowhere to be seen among today’s politicians.