Sunday, 25 Jul 2021

Desperate Germany begs EU for cash after deadly floods leave regions in ruin

Germany flooding: Cleanup 'could take months' says host

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At least 160 people were killed in what was one of the gravest natural disaster in the country’s modern history. As the floodwaters continue to recede, the search is still on for survivors of last week’s catastrophe while the government draws up plans to repair damaged buildings and local infrastructure. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet is due to discuss proposals to provide £174million in emergency if the country’s 16 federal states agree contribute the same amount.

Berlin will also apply to the EU for help from a fund set up to help member states hit by natural disasters, according to a draft document.

Two months ahead of a national election, Mrs Merkel’s government wants to display that it is doing all it can to help restore people’s homes and livelihoods in the flood-stricken regions.

it said in the draft document, according to the Reuters news agency: “The federal government will do everything needed to restore the federally owned infrastructure as quickly as possible.

“Dealing with the damage and rebuilding the infrastructure will require a major financial effort in the coming years.”

It added that a fund would be set up in the future to help pay for any future disasters.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen last week told the flood-hit communities in Germany and Belgium that the EU was prepared to help.

“We are with you in mourning and we will be with you in rebuilding,” she said.

Today the EU’s institutions held a minute’s silence in respect for those that lost their lives in the crisis.

Mrs von der Leyen added: “In this day of mourning, we observed a minute of silence for the victims of the devastating floods.

“No words can describe the suffering and destruction caused.

“The EU Commission stands with the communities rebuilding their lives and homes. We will support in any way we can.”

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Cash will likely be sent from the EU’s Solidarity Fund, which was designed to offer assistance to states after natural disasters.

The war chest is open to member states, as well as those countries applying to join the bloc, and has most recently been used to help pay for the medical supplies after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the last decade, the bloc has handed out hundreds of millions of euros from its budget to member states recovering from natural disasters.

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Germany floods: Merkel visits area impacted by destruction

In 2009, Italy was handed nearly £432 million from the solidarity fund after the Abruzzo earthquake, during which 308 people were killed.

Germany received around £311m to help respond to “serious flooding” in 2013.

Austria and the Czech Republic were also handed from close to £35m as the neighbouring countries were less affected by the disaster.

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