Germany’s New Climate Reality A Country Races to Prepare for the Unavoidable

Floods, storms, forest fires – events that used to be extreme have become the new normal. Now German officials are building dikes, underground storage tanks and green roofs to avert disaster. Will it be enough?
25 Min.
Consequences of the flood: A soccer pitch near Weilerswist, in North Rhine-Westphalia, was turned into a waste disposal site.

Consequences of the flood: A soccer pitch near Weilerswist, in North Rhine-Westphalia, was turned into a waste disposal site.

Foto: Kollektiv25
DER SPIEGEL 30/2021
SPIEGEL International
The fight against heavy rain is seen as especially difficult – because it can happen anywhere.
Exhausted: Many helpers reached their limits in the days after the catastrophe. Here, members of Edenkoben’s volunteer fire department, resting after a 24-hour deployment in Bad Neuenahr.

Exhausted: Many helpers reached their limits in the days after the catastrophe. Here, members of Edenkoben’s volunteer fire department, resting after a 24-hour deployment in Bad Neuenahr.

Foto: Omer Messinger
“During the heatwave of 2003, we had an excess mortality of over 7,000 people in Germany alone."

Hans-Guido Mücke, German Environment Agency

Sometimes the only thing that remains is a realization that nature is untamable, and that there comes a point where we have to yield to it.