Germany Mulls Investigating Recent Flood Disaster for Negligence

German prosecutors said they were considering whether there were grounds to investigate negligence that might have caused at least 180 deaths in the recent floods.

The public prosecutor’s office in Koblenz said that the flood and the damage it caused raised questions on whether authorities had done enough to warn residents to prevent loss of life. 

Koblenz prosecutors said they are already looking into media reports and official police investigations into recorded deaths, including the 12 residents at a care home in Sinzig who died in the floods. 

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that local authorities in Ahrweiler had received an early flood warning from the state’s environmental office in the afternoon of 14 July but only acted 90 minutes later.

In the village of Swisttal, North Rhine-Westphalia, residents accused local and regional authorities of failing to sound sirens or alerting them during the floods.

(It’s) “completely inconceivable for such a catastrophe to be managed centrally from any one place,” defended German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer after facing criticisms from citizens. 

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