Guest contribution by Eric Worrall
Chancellor Angela Merkel wasted no time turning her government’s catastrophic failure to respond to flood warnings into a climate change propaganda campaign.
Angela Merkel calls for action on climate change as she investigates fatal flood damage
“The German language knows hardly any words for the devastation that was wreaked here,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel.
July 19, 2021, 1.30 a.m. AEST
By Claudio Lavanga and Isobel van Hagen
HEIMERSHEIM, Germany – The train station is in ruins, wrecked cars lie on the tracks and uprooted trees line the riverbank.
Hundreds in the village of Heimersheim were still without electricity when police combed the debris of the receding water on Sunday looking for bodies and potentially combustible material.
Similar scenes occurred in West Germany and other parts of Europe, where clean-up work continued after last week’s devastating floods. At least 180 people have died, officials confirmed on Sunday, and thousands more are missing.
As the water rose from the Ahr, Zinat Hamsoro, 41, who lives in the normally tranquil Heimersheim, told NBC News that she was forced to climb and sleep on a hill near the village.
“It happened so quickly and we weren’t warned,” she said on Sunday. “The city council posted a warning on their Facebook page, but it was too late by then. “
“The German language hardly knows any words for the devastation that was wreaked here,” she said.
She said the strength of the storms indicated that they “had something to do with climate change,” adding, “We have to hurry, we have to get faster in the fight against climate change.”
Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/angela-merkel-calls-climate-change-action-she-surveys-deadly-flood-n1274310
I wonder what the policy was for residents who don’t use Facebook? Was there a specific plan to respond to an impending flood, such as a hotline to contact local media? Were there no emergency teams ready to deploy flood protection measures? Or was posting on Facebook all that the city administration could think of at short notice?
And the biggest question, why did Merkel seem to expect someone to call her to warn her? Why didn’t your government proactively monitor the situation by staying in daily contact with weather forecasters and checking for updated information? There were plenty of warnings that Merkel’s government only had to pick up the phone and ask the right questions.
The federal government’s excuses reflect a trend in African countries where politicians are sometimes trying to blame climate change in order to disguise their own incompetence or corruption.
For example, the regional governor of the Nile Delta in Egypt tried this trick in 2015, claiming that the flooding of the Nile, which resulted in a severe flooding of Alexandria, was due to climate change. But furious critics in the Arab press pointed to poor sewer maintenance and made sure common people were aware that the real problem was incompetence.
… His resignation, less than a year after he took office in Alexandria, Egypt’s second largest city, was announced on Sunday by a government spokesman amid widespread criticism of the city’s response to the Flood.
“We’re drowning in negligence“Read the headline on the front page of the daily Al-Youm Al-Sabaa. “The government is drowning in Alexandria,” read the headline of Al-Shorouk, another daily newspaper.
Alexandria’s weak infrastructure, particularly its drainage systems, likely worsened the flooding and, according to local media, resulted in the deaths of five people who were electrocuted by a dropped power cord. The rain was five times the amount of rain the city usually had for all of October.
Some people pointed to climate change as the main culprit. Missiry called the flood an “environmental disaster” shortly before his resignation.
Such floods could become the norm in Alexandria, warns the World Bank. This makes Alexandria one of the five cities in the world that are most at risk of flooding by 2050 due to climate change. Other cities the World Bank lists include Barranquilla, Colombia; Naples, Italy; Sapporo, Japan; and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. …
Read more: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/10/26/climate-change-to-increase-alexandria-flooding.html
Even if you believe that climate change is making floods worse, it certainly means that governments should have planned and prepared more. Politicians are responsible for how their governments respond to disasters, regardless of the cause of the disaster.
Let us hope that the German people can at least keep up with the strength and political wisdom of the people of Africa, reject the pathetic excuses of their leaders and demand the resignation of the politicians whose incompetence or worse contributed to putting this catastrophe on their lives .
Update (EW): h / t Bellman, Zig Zag – Zinat Hamsoro is Heimersheimer who said “we were not warned”. I’m sorry, I didn’t make it clear – some readers are confusing this with my claim that Merkel just sat around waiting for a warning instead of being proactive.
Correction (EW): h / t Antonis Christofides – The original title “Chancellor Angela Merkel falsely claims that we were not warned about the floods” was wrong – it was Zinat Hamsoro, who lives in Germany, who said, “We were not warned ““.