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Germany’s Saarland Sees Flooding After Heavy Rain | World

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Berlin: Heavy rainfall caused flooding and landslides in the western German state of Saarland.

Buildings in the state capital of Saarbrucken and other municipalities had to be evacuated due to rising water levels.

The state Interior Ministry spoke of a “widespread flooding situation”, with a focus on the southeastern part of the state.

People in the city of Saarbrucken have been advised to avoid basements, bodies of water, and flooded areas due to persistent heavy rain.

“Flood waves can come suddenly, banks can collapse,” the city announced on Friday evening.

“Crossing flooded streets should be avoided at all costs — both on foot and by car.”

Therefore, citizens were warned to stay away from the affected areas and, if necessary, spend the night elsewhere.

A Ministry Spokesperson said that the districts of Neunkirchen, Saarpfalz, and Saarbrucken regional associations were particularly affected. There was initially no news of any casualties.

Apart from Saarbrucken and Neunkirchen, the situation was tense in Eppelborn, St. Wendel, Saarlouis, and Merzig. In some places, residents had to be evacuated from their flats in isolated streets. Some retirement homes were also affected.

Increased flooding is still expected, especially in the districts of Lauterbach, Ludweiler, Geislautern, and Wehrden. There were no reports of injuries so far, the Ministry Spokesman added.

In Volklingen, streets have been disconnected from the power grid due to flooding.

However, the drinking water supply has been secured, the town announced late Friday evening.

“In Volklingen, millions of euros worth of damage is expected, especially in the private sector,” the municipality said.

“The extent of the damage is not yet foreseeable.”

Officials are considering requesting assistance from neighbouring federal states.

Saarbrucken declared a major damage situation, as did several districts.

Several buildings in the city had to be evacuated. The city set up alternative accommodation in schools and a citizens’ hotline. Those affected were asked to take only the essentials with them.

The German Weather Service warned of heavy continuous rain through the early hours of Saturday, especially in the areas west of the Rhine. After that, the rain is expected to ease slowly.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz cancelled an election campaign appearance planned for Saturday in Saarland.

Instead, he will visit Saarland with state premier Anke Rehlinger to get an idea of the situation on the ground, a government spokesperson announced in Saarbrucken on Friday evening.

The state government has initiated the first steps towards emergency financial aid.

In a meeting late on Friday evening, the Council of Ministers declared a so-called “elementary event of supra-local importance”.

According to the State Chancellery, this means that state aid can be granted.

In addition, municipalities could deviate from budget-balancing regulations due to the extraordinary emergency.

“Many Saarlanders are worried about their homes and possessions or have already suffered severe damage,” Rehlinger said.

“To ensure that no time is lost, the state government has taken decisions at short notice to assist to repair the damage caused.”

(IANS)

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