German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has rejected criticisms that the government failed to sufficiently warn people of last week’s devastating floods as the death toll rose above 160.
Flooding has hit parts of Western Europe since last Wednesday with the German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia being the worst-hit
Authorities confirmed a total of 117 people have died in Rhineland-Palatinate, with 47 victims in neighboring North Rhine-Westphalia and one in Bavaria. Many others remain missing.
Opposition politicians suggested that the death toll revealed serious failings in Germany’s flood preparedness.
Seehofer argued in response that the German National Meteorological Service (DWD) issued warnings to Germany’s 16 states and that districts and communities decide at a local level how to respond.
“It would be completely inconceivable for such a catastrophe to be managed centrally from any one place. You need local knowledge. It’s not Berlin that declares a state of emergency, that is done locally,” said Seehofer.
Seehofer added that criticisms of the emergency response were “cheap election campaign rhetoric” meant for Germany’s federal election to be held in September.
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