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GERMAN FLOOD DISASTER

WEATHER

Germany forms €8-billion fund for flood victims

Germany confirmed on Thursday it would be setting up a fund worth about €8 billion to help victims of record floods which forced thousands from their homes and left a path of destruction across parts of the country.

Germany forms €8-billion fund for flood victims
Photo: DPA

The move was decided when Chancellor Angela Merkel met the premiers of Germany’s 16 states to discuss the disaster’s impact. State premiere of Thuringia Christine Lieberknecht confirmed that €8 billion seemed realistic.

No official figure has yet been given for the cost of the damage in Germany from the floods which also deluged other central European countries, leaving at least 19 people dead.

After the “worst-of-the-century” floods in 2002, a €6.5-billion fund was set up.

Last week, Merkel already pledged immediate aid of €100 million.

Reiner Haseloff, premier of eastern Saxony-Anhalt state, which has been hit by the flooding, suggested in the Mitteldeusche Zeitung a temporary increase of a tax levied on all personal income and businesses to help reconstruct former East Germany.

Water levels continued to slowly fall in northern Germany on Thursday and dykes were holding, including in Lauenburg in Schleswig-Holstein and Hitzacker in Lower Saxony, both of which were visited by Merkel on Wednesday.

DPA/AFP/mry/jcw

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WEATHER

‘Heat February’ likely to follow Germany’s warmest January on record so far

After seeing the hottest January so far since records began, meteorologists in Germany are now predicting a warmer-than-usual February, which could bring about problems for winter sports resorts.

‘Heat February’ likely to follow Germany’s warmest January on record so far

Germany is getting hotter. Every decade since the sixties has been warmer than the previous one and the pace is continuing to increase, the German Weather Service (DWD) said in its final climate assessment for the past year released on Monday.

“We are now experiencing hot spells and intensities that we would actually not have expected from climate models for a few decades,” said Andreas Becker, head of the DWD’s climate monitoring department.

READ ALSO: More floods, droughts and heatwaves: How climate change will impact Germany

“Since the year 1881, we now have an increase in the annual mean temperature in Germany of 1.7 C,” Becker said. He added that this increase can only be explained by man-made climate change.

The first half of January – usually considered to be the height of winter – was warmer than ever before this year, at 8.2 C above average. 

But while temperatures are expected to sink and bring some frost and snowfall later this week, meteorologist Dominik Jung from wetter.net, has said that there is no real prospect of a severe cold spell or a deep onset of winter. Meteorologist Alban Burster from wetter.com, meanwhile, said that he expects January to remain mainly foggy and wet.

Looking ahead to February, it seems likely that there will be no change in the warming trend. Meteorologist Jung said that he expects the second month of 2023 to be “almost a kind of ‘heat’ February” – at an average of two to three degrees warmer than the climate average.

Good news for some

For the winter sports season, the warm temperatures are  “a disaster”, Jung said.

READ ALSO: How heatwaves in Germany have led to thousands of deaths

The meagre snowfall is bad news for sports enthusiasts and ski lift operators, many of which have had to resort to using artificial snow – at a significant cost. 

However, for those hoping to save on their home heating bills, the warm winter months, for now, are good news. 

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