Cleanup Costs: Germany Estimates Billions in Flood Damage
As historic flooding continues to surge through Germany, one unofficial estimate has already placed possible damage at 12 billion euros. Some organizations are complaining that donations are down compared to the disastrous floods of 2002.
With continued flooding along rivers in eastern and northern Germany on Tuesday, the country faced a shortage of sandbags, and was forced to ask its neighbors for deliveries to reinforce dikes and levees.
"So far, 1.65 million empty sandbags have been delivered to Germany from abroad," a spokesman said. They are being distributed to the areas in need.
Most of the bags have been provided by neighboring countries including the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium and Denmark.
In recent days, millions of sandbags have been stacked to prevent dikes from breaching across the country.
Federal police and Bundeswehr soldiers managed to patch up one dike that had created some of the most dramatic scenes of flooding on Monday, in the village of Fischbeck in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt. A number of small homes have been destroyed there, and only the rooftops of many buildings are above water level.
Soldiers threw sandbags on the 50-meter (164-foot) break to bring the dike under control. According to officials in the local county of Stendal, around 11,300 people in the surrounding area had to be evacuated.
High Water Levels to Continue
But officials had to combat broken or breached dikes in other parts of the state along the powerful Elbe River as well. Meanwhile, an important railway bridge that connects high-speed train lines from Cologne and Frankfurt to Berlin remained closed, leading to long delays.
Flooding remained far less dramatic in most places than that seen in recent days in cities like Passau in Bavaria, though high water levels are still expected for days to come in parts of northern Germany. "That's why members of the dike watch are still deployed so that they can ensure that breaches can be found in time," a spokeswoman in the district of Lüchow-Dannenberg said.
12 Billion in Damage?
As salvage and repair work begins in areas of Germany affected by the floods in towns like hard-hit Deggendorf in Bavaria, it is becoming clear that the natural disaster has left billions of euros of damages in its wake. An official with the rating agency Fitch said Tuesday the floods could cause a total of 12 billion (around $16 billion) in damage. That would exceed the 11.6 billion in damage caused by historic flooding of Germany in 2002.
Charity organizations around Germany are accepting donations for people who have lost their homes, but many have complained that contributions have been low compared to the generosity shown during the 2002 floods.
"There was a massive wave of donations in 2002," German Red Cross spokeswoman Stephanie Krone told the German news agency DPA. "Back then we collected 140 million in donations. But it hasn't been that strong this time."
dsl -- with wires
Stay informed with our free news services:
© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2013
All Rights Reserved
Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH
Corriere della Sera
MORE FROM SPIEGEL INTERNATIONAL
German PoliticsMerkel's Moves: Power Struggles in Berlin
World War IITruth and Reconciliation: Why the War Still Haunts Europe
EnergyGreen Power: The Future of Energy
European UnionUnited Europe: A Continental Project
Climate ChangeGlobal Warming: Curbing Carbon Before It's Too Late