AEven after the heavy rain in North Rhine-Westphalia has subsided, the fire brigade and other emergency services are struggling with the worsening flood situation in many places. In the Euskirchen district, the dam of the Steinbach dam threatened to break on Thursday night. The situation was also critical at times at the Bevertalsperre and the Wupper Reservoirs. There, however, the water could flow away in a controlled manner, as the fire brigade announced.
In Solingen, an 82-year-old man died after falling in the flooded basement of his house. In the fall, his head got under water, said a spokeswoman for the Wuppertal police on Thursday. According to the city of Solingen, the man was rescued from a cellar shaft and resuscitated. He died after being transported to the hospital.
Two firefighters died in the rescue operations in the Sauerland. A 46-year-old firefighter fell into the water on Wednesday afternoon in Altena after rescuing a man from a flooded district and drifted away. Shortly afterwards, his colleagues were only able to rescue him dead. Less than two hours later, a 52-year-old firefighter collapsed while working in the area of the Werdohl-Elverlingsen power plant. The police said he died on Wednesday evening despite resuscitation and relief measures. According to initial findings, the accident was a health emergency.
You can follow all current developments on floods and storms here in the live blog.
The flat roof of a retail store in a shopping center in Würselen near Aachen collapsed in heavy rain. An injured person was able to save himself, the city said. “Probably the roof did not withstand the masses of water.”
In Leverkusen, a hospital had to be completely evacuated due to a power failure. The Leverkusen Clinic announced on Thursday morning that 468 people were affected. The measure was discussed with the fire department. All operations, appointments and interventions have been canceled. The emergency power failed during the night, and some stations were without lights. “Some of the medical equipment in the intensive care units had to be powered by batteries,” said the clinic. During the night, 12 children and 15 adult patients were transferred to nearby hospitals.
The trigger for the power failure was the flood of the river Dhünn. This triggered a short circuit on two transformers and the power went out. There is no telling when the power supply will work reliably again, said the clinic.
Hagen is a flood hotspot
In many places people had to be brought to safety from the floods. There were also large-scale power outages. A spokeswoman for the network operator Westnetz reported on Thursday morning that around 190,000 households were without electricity because substations and other systems were flooded and had to be switched off. The Bergisches Land and the Eifel are particularly affected.
The North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) wanted to get an idea of the situation in the flood hotspot Hagen on Thursday in the city of Hagen, which was particularly badly affected by the flooding. There, the flooding of the Volme exacerbated the situation on Thursday evening. Around 440 firefighters and technical aid workers were there alone.
On Wednesday, a retirement home with 76 residents in Hagen was evacuated due to the influx of water. Parents were asked not to send their children to daycare and not to use the holiday care at the primary schools. Several drivers were freed from their cars, which were trapped by water. Some parts of the town could no longer be reached. “The people are desperate,” said a spokesman for the Hagen police headquarters. In other parts of the state, too, brooks turned into torrential rivers. An employee of a retirement home in Mettmann near Düsseldorf was seriously injured by a falling tree and almost drowned. A helper was able to hold the woman’s head above water until firefighters had freed the trapped woman.
In Erkrath, near the state capital, around 100 residents had to leave accommodation for refugees. Flood warning values have been exceeded on numerous rivers in North Rhine-Westphalia.