Storm over the governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet, after his visit to the city of Erftstadt. A video shot him in the background of Frank-Walter Steinmeier: after meeting with the rescuers, the German president speaks with a grim face of the very serious losses suffered as a result of the flood, which left over 130 victims and dozens missing; behind him, not thinking of being registered, Laschet, the CDU candidate for chancellery, as the successor of Angela Merkel, laughs and jokes with local politicians. The video immediately went viral and sparked anger and controversy of all kinds on social media: many criticized the cynicism of the politician, many declared him unsuitable for such a prestigious task as Merkel’s succession.
Germany: over 140 dead, controversy ahead of the vote
As the masses of water that have disfigured the Rhine valleys slowly retreat, the desperate search for survivors, victims and injured in heart-stricken Germany continues: between the flood-ravaged North-Rhine Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate the death toll until today afternoon it has reached at least 143 victims and dozens are still missing. In the large area of Ahrweiler alone, according to the police, the victims are over 100, but it is still feared that many other bodies will gradually emerge from the retreating muddy streams. A very high number of people has not yet been reached: it is hoped that this also depends on the interrupted mobile lines.
Flood Germany, the numbers of the disaster
Rhineland Palatinate is the epicenter of the catastrophe: bridges were also destroyed in Ahrweiler, rail traffic is almost completely stopped, many roads are blocked or in any case not passable due to debris and water. Both the electricity and telephone networks are out of order here, while in North Rhine Westphalia near the Dutch border, in Orphoven, more than 700 people were evacuated after a dam on the River Rur broke. A disaster of this size cannot fail to have an impact on the current electoral campaign.
Flood Germany, campaign changes ahead of September elections
The federal government’s lack of initiative in the fight against climate change is being blamed. Governor Malu Dreyer herself attacked by stating that “in recent years many things that could be done on this front have stood still, and they are necessary things”. Climate change, says Dreyer, “is no longer an abstract thing: we experience it with pain on our own skin”. Not surprisingly, the Greens are also on the attack: “We need a strengthened joint commitment to climate protection,” said co-leader of the environmental party, Robert Habeck. “Now the priority is to save lives, but it is clear that it is finally necessary to take joint efforts to defend the climate and fight global warming”. The Green candidate for chancellery, Annalena Baerbock, also went to the areas of the disaster, after having interrupted her holidays. The environmental leader has renounced the presence of journalists as well as attending public meetings: her intention, according to a spokesperson, was “to have first-hand information on the situation in which the people affected by the disaster find themselves”. On Twitter Baerbock wrote that “all the talks” she had had “got into her skin: many are still cut off, many places are not yet reached by relief efforts. At the same time there is great solidarity in helping and giving hospitality “to those affected by the floods.