Guest essay by Eric Worrall
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has wasted no time attempting to pivot her government’s disastrous failure to act on warnings about the flood disaster into a climate change propaganda campaign.
Angela Merkel calls for climate change action as she surveys deadly flood damage
“The German language hardly knows any words for the devastation that has been caused here,” Chancellor Angel Merkel said.
July 19, 2021, 1:30 AM AEST
By Claudio Lavanga and Isobel van Hagen
HEIMERSHEIM, Germany — The train station has been reduced to rubble, wrecked cars lie on the tracks and uprooted trees line the riverbank.
Hundreds in the village of Heimersheim were still without power as police combed the wreckage left by receded water on Sunday to look for bodies and potentially flammable material.
There were similar scenes across western Germany and other parts of Europe where the cleanup from last week’s disastrous floodingcontinued. At least 180 people have died, officials confirmed Sunday, thousands more are missing.
As the waters rose from the Ahr river, Zinat Hamsoro, 41, who lives in the normally tranquil Heimersheim, told NBC News she had been forced to climb and spend the night on a hill near the village.
“It happened so fast, and we weren’t warned,” she said Sunday. “The city council posted a warning message on its Facebook page, but by then it was too late.”
“The German language hardly knows any words for the devastation that has been caused here,” she said.
She said the force of the storms suggested they had “something to do with climate change,” adding, “We have to hurry, we have to get faster in the fight against climate change.”
…Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/angela-merkel-calls-climate-change-action-she-surveys-deadly-flood-n1274310
I wonder what the provision was for residents who don’t use Facebook? Was there any actual plan in place, for how to respond to an imminent flood, like a hotline for contacting local media outlets? Were there no emergency teams ready to deploy flood control measures? Or was posting on Facebook all the city council could think of on short notice?
And the biggest question, why did Merkel apparently expect someone to call her, to warn her? Why didn’t her government proactively monitor the situation, by maintaining daily contact with meteorologists and reaching out for up to date information? There was plenty of warning, all Merkel’s government had to do was pick up the telephone and ask the right questions.
The German Government’s excuses echo a trend in African countries, where politicians sometimes attempt to blame Climate Change to camouflage their own incompetence or corruption.
For example, the Nile Delta Regional Governor in Egypt tried this trick in 2015, claiming the flooding of the Nile, which led to severe flooding of Alexandria, was due to climate change. But furious critics in the Arab press pointed to poor maintenance of drains, and made sure ordinary people were aware that the real problem was incompetence.
… His resignation, which comes less than a year after he took charge of Alexandria, Egypt’s second-largest city, was announced Sunday by a government spokesman amid widespread criticism over the city’s response to the deluge.
“We are drowning in negligence,” read the front-page headline of Al-Youm Al-Sabaa daily newspaper. “The government drowns in Alexandria,” read the banner headline at Al-Shorouk, another daily.
Alexandria’s frail infrastructure, particularly its drainage systems, likely aggravated the flooding and resulted in the deaths of five people who were electrocuted by a fallen power cable, according to local media. The downpour was five times the amount of rain the city normally experiences in all of October.
Some people pointed to climate change as a major culprit. Missiry called the flooding an “environmental catastrophe” shortly before resigning.
Such flooding could become the norm in Alexandria, the World Bank has warned. It put Alexandria among the five cities across the world most at risk of flooding by 2050 as a result of climate change. The other cities the World Bank lists include Barranquilla, Colombia; Naples, Italy; Sapporo, Japan; and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. …Read more: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/10/26/climate-change-to-increase-alexandria-flooding.html
Even if you believe climate change is making floods worse, surely this means governments should have planned for this, and made more effort to prepare. Politicians are accountable for how their governments respond to disasters, regardless of the cause of those disasters.
Let us hope the German people can at least match the fortitude and political wisdom of the people of Africa, reject the pathetic excuses of their leaders, and demand the resignation of the politicians whose incompetence or worse contributed to visiting this disaster upon their lives.
Update (EW): h/t Bellman, Zig Zag – Zinat Hamsoro is a resident of Heimersheim, who said “we weren’t warned”. Me bad sorry, I didn’t make it clear – some readers are conflating this with my suggesting Merkel just sat around waiting for a warning, instead of being proactive.
Correction (EW): h/t Antonis Christofides – The original title “German Chancellor Angela Merkel Falsely Claims “We Weren’t Warned” about the German Floods” was incorrect – it was German resident Zinat Hamsoro who said “we weren’t warned”.