Lumumba’s Remains Arrive In DR Congo 


A portrait of slain Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba is carried as his remains leave for Shilatembo where the leader was killed along with two of his compatriots, at the airport in Lubumbashi on June 26, 2022.  Guerchom Ndebo / AFP

 

Slain Congolese independence hero Patrice Lumumba’s only surviving remains, a single tooth, arrived in Kinshasa on Monday where it is due to be laid to rest later this week.

The nationalist politician became an anti-colonial icon when he delivered a fiery speech against racism on June 30, 1960, when his native central African country proclaimed independence from Belgium.

But Lumumba, the country’s first post-independence prime minister, was overthrown that September.

Separatists from the southern region of Katanga and Belgian mercenaries then executed him and two close supporters in January 1961.

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His body was dissolved in acid after he was killed, but a Belgian police officer kept the tooth as a trophy. Belgian authorities in 2016 seized the relic from his daughter.

On June 20, Belgium finally returned the tooth to Lumumba’s family members during a ceremony in Brussels.

Lumumba’s remains were then transported to his native Democratic Republic of Congo, for a tour of the vast nation that included the southeastern region where he was assassinated.

On Monday, the independence hero’s tooth arrived in the capital Kinshasa for the final leg of the tour, in a coffin draped in the Congolese flag.

Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi received the remains at Kinshasa’s international airport, where he bowed before the coffin.

Lumumba’s tooth is due to be laid to rest in a ceremony in Kinshasa on Thursday — the 62nd anniversary of independence from Belgium and his historic speech.

AFP

Three EU Countries Expel Dozens Of Russian Diplomats

An Algerian pilot died when his Russian-made fighter jet crashed during a training flight in the country’s west, the defence ministry said.

The MiG-29 went down “because of a technical fault, directly after taking off from Bousfer airbase” in the province of Oran, it said late Monday.

The pilot and co-pilot were able to eject but the pilot later succumbed to his injuries, the statement said.

Armed forces chief General Said Chengriha ordered an enquiry into the crash.

The North African country’s armed forces have suffered a string of aviation disasters in recent years.

In April 2018, an Ilyushin Il-76 heavy transport aircraft crashed south of Algiers with the loss of all 257 people on board, most of them military personnel, in the country’s deadliest air accident.

In February 2014, 77 soldiers or relatives were killed when a Hercules C-130 transport aircraft crashed east of Algiers.

Most recently, three Algerian navy officers died when their MS-25 Merlin helicopter crashed into the Mediterranean west of the capital in December 2020.

AFP

Eriksen ‘Very Happy’ To Be Back With Denmark Team

In this file photo, Denmark’s midfielder Christian Eriksen runs during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group B football match between Denmark and Finland at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen on June 12, 2021. (Photo by Friedemann Vogel / various sources / AFP)

 

Christian Eriksen said Thursday he was “very pleased” to join up with the Denmark team, just nine months after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Eriksen has linked up once again with the national side ahead of friendlies against the Netherlands in Amsterdam on Saturday and Serbia in Copenhagen on Tuesday.

“I’m very happy and pleased to be able to be back with national team again. It’s been a while, so I am very happy to be back,” the midfielder said in Marbella, where the Denmark squad are training.

Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest in Denmark’s opening game of the European Championships against Finland in Copenhagen last June.

He had to be resuscitated on the pitch, lying unconscious for several minutes as the stunned crowd and millions of television viewers around the world watched on in horror.

Eriksen spent several days in hospital and had a pacemaker implanted to regulate his heartbeat.

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In this file photo, Denmark’s players gather as paramedics attend to midfielder Christian Eriksen (not seen) during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group B football match between Denmark and Finland at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen on June 12, 2021. (Photo by WOLFGANG RATTAY / various sources / AFP)

 

Eriksen, scorer of 36 goals in 109 appearances for Denmark, terminated his contract with Inter Milan by mutual consent in December as Italian league rules bar players with pacemakers.

He made his club comeback on February 26 for English Premier League side Brentford.

Eriksen said he had been “lucky with the doctors and I’ve been lucky with the diagnosis”.

“Everything is okay to go back to play again and that of course gave me the push to get me back to the life I had before.”

The cardiac arrest, Eriksen added, was “difficult for everyone…. we had a lot of conversations, of course, to walk and talk through everything that’s happened”.

“But since then time has really tried to heal everything and it’s been going well. So obviously when it’s going well and the time comes with it, then it’s a very good mix and that helps definitely.”

Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand said having Eriksen back was “a good feeling, of course, we are happy to have him here”.

“It was a nice moment yesterday when he entered to the group, and so it’s great to have him back.”

Denmark have qualified for the World Cup in Qatar at the end of the year. After Eriksen’s cardiac arrest Denmark reached the Euro semi-finals where they lost to England.

AFP

Six Killed As Car Rams Into Carnival Crowd In Belgium

People gather near a gymnasium where witnesses and relatives of victims are received near the site where a car crashed into a crowd of early morning carnival-goers killing four people and injuring 12 people seriously in Strepy-Bracquegnies, on March 20, 2022.  Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

 

A car ploughed into a crowd of early morning carnival-goers in Belgium on Sunday, killing six people and injuring dozens of others, authorities said, as they ruled out an act of terrorism for now.

The tragedy took place around 5:00 am (0400 GMT) as the carnival of Strepy-Bracquegnies, a district in the former coal-mining town of La Louviere, was getting underway.

“At this stage of the investigation, we know that a vehicle slammed into a group (of carnival goers) and that there are six dead and 26 injured, including 10 people whose life is in danger,” prosecutor Damien Verheyen told reporters at the town’s city hall.

The main suspects, who were arrested, were born in 1988 and 1990, he said, adding that terrorism was not at this stage considered a motive.

Verheyen said the two came from La Louviere, a town near the French border in Belgium’s rust belt, and are not known to authorities for similar acts.

Belgian towns and villages host many street carnivals around the season of Lent, with the parades in Binche and Aalst the best known internationally.

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‘Folklore To Horror’

People gather near a gymnasium where witnesses and relatives of victims are received near the site where a car crashed into a crowd of early morning carnival-goers killing four people and injuring 12 people seriously in Strepy-Bracquegnies, on March 20, 2022. Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

 

Like Binche, the carnival of Strepy-Bracquegnies involves participants dressed up as “Gilles”, extravagantly attired comical figures who are “called out” to the parade in the early hours.

La Louvriere mayor Jacques Gobert said there were 150 to 200 people participating in the carnival’s pre-dawn prologue, including the “Gilles” in their garb.

When they reached a road, “a car coming from behind at high speed literally pulverised a large number of people,” he said at the news conference.

Witnesses described a horrific scene of a car that apparently willfully drove into the carnival-goers that included children.

Fabrice Collingnon, a Belgian TV presenter, told AFP the procession was joyfully underway when in a “snap of the fingers we went from fun and folklore to absolute horror.”

The car seemed to “deliberately enter into the pack,” said Collingnon.

Another witness, Theo, told RTBF news he saw a car that moved “very fast and didn’t brake”.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo deplored the “horrible news” on Twitter, saying “a community gathering to celebrate has been hit in the heart.”

De Croo and other ministers rushed to the scene along with Belgium’s King Philippe who met first responders in the Strepy-Bracquegnies sporting hall, where the morning’s carnival procession began.

The RIAAL La Louvriere football team said that one of the victims was a steward at the club and that a match scheduled later on Sunday was cancelled.

“Words fail us,” the team wrote on its Facebook page.

In neighbouring France, just a few kilometres from the scene of the tragedy, President Emmanuel Macron “assured the Belgian prime minister of his support and friendship after this tragedy”, his office said.

In February 2020, a man rammed his car through a carnival procession in Germany, injuring dozens of bystanders including children.

Germany and other countries at the time had been on high alert for car ramming attacks since December 2016, when an Islamic State group sympathiser ploughed a truck through a Christmas market leaving 12 dead.

German towns had seen several such attacks since, with most carried out by people who were found to have psychological issues.

AFP

Four Dead In Belgium As Car Hits Early Morning Carnival Crowd

A Belgian Flag.

 

A car crashed into a crowd of early morning carnival-goers in Belgium on Sunday, killing four people and injuring 20 people seriously, authorities said.

“A car driving at high speed ran into the crowd that had gathered to attend (the carnival),” La Louviere mayor Jacques Gobert told Belga news agency.

The incident took place at about 5:00 am (0400 GMT) at the carnival of Strepy-Bracquegnies, a district of the former industrial town of La Louviere, authorities said.

“This Sunday morning, a vehicle collided with… a group of around 100 people which had just left the sports hall to go back up to the centre of the village,” the mayor’s office said in a statement.

The public prosecutor’s office did not wish to communicate on the case for the time being, but will speak later in the day, it said.

Authorities are to hold a press conference at 11:00 am in La Louviere.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo deplored the “horrible news” in which “a community gathering to celebrate has been hit in the heart”, he wrote on Twitter.

De Croo was to visit the scene later on Sunday accompanied by Belgium’s King Philippe, the prime minister’s office said.

Belgian towns and villages host many street carnivals around the season of Lent, with the parades in Binche and Alost the most known, internationally.

Like Binche, the carnival of Strepy-Bracquegnies involves participants dressed up as “Gilles”, comical figures who are “called out” to the parade in the early hours.

“I was walking by,” one witness, Theo, told RTBF news.

“I turned around and saw a car running into the troop. It came very fast and didn’t brake. It continued and it took a girl 100 metres further,” he said.

In neighbouring Germany, a man in February 2020 rammed his car through a carnival procession, injuring dozens of bystanders including children.

Germany and other countries at the time had been on high alert for car ramming attacks since December 2016, when an Islamic State group sympathiser ploughed a truck through a Christmas market leaving 12 dead.

Germany has seen several such attacks since, with most carried out by people who were found to have psychological issues.

Nigerian Player Ozornwafor Collapses Twice On The Field In Belgium 

Ozornwafor is a former Enyimba player. [email protected]

 

Super Eagles defender, Valentine Ozornwafor, collapsed twice on the pitch over the weekend but is in good condition, his club, Sporting Charleroi, have said.

The Belgian club said this in a tweet on their official handle on Sunday. According to them, the player became unconscious twice during a league match against Royale Union Saint Gilloise (RUSG) on Saturday.

“The first news about our defender Valentine Ozornwafor is reassuring. After losing consciousness twice in the field, he is now conscious and will remain under observation, according to the concussion protocol,” the club wrote.

He was hit in the face by Royal Union’s striker, Dante Vanzeir, in a 46th-minute clash and fell facedown. He then lost consciousness before being stretchered off the pitch. The former Enyimba man played twice for the Super Eagles.

Buhari Demands Weighty Sanctions For Coup Plotters In Africa

President Muhammadu Buhari spoke at the African Union - European Union Summit in Brussels, Belgium on February 18, 2022. Sunday Aghaeze/State House
President Muhammadu Buhari spoke at the African Union – European Union Summit in Brussels, Belgium on February 18, 2022. Sunday Aghaeze/State House

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Brussels, Belgium, called on European leaders as partners in promoting democracy and good governance to lend their weight behind measures put in place by the African Union to stem the tide of unconstitutional leadership changes, rearing its head again on the continent.

In his contribution to the roundtable discussion on Peace, Security, and Governance at the ongoing 6th EU-AU Summit, President Buhari equally stressed the need to nip the root causes of extremism, conflicts, and tensions in Africa at inception.

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“Africa has continued to witness different waves of violent extremism, community-based conflicts, and inter-ethnic tensions, notably in rural areas. For many decades, our continent has been deprived of political stability and socio-economic development due to terrorism and violent extremism,” he said.

“More worrisome is the current state of democracy on the continent, which has become a great source of concern to many of us, with increasing cases of unconstitutional change of governments across the continent, particularly in West Africa. This is in addition to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The African Union has often responded to these challenges through its different structures, such as the African Peace and Security Architecture and the African Governance Architecture.

“Through enhanced collaboration with our development partners, especially the European Union, we can identify areas of cooperation for quick and substantive results.

“As leaders and policymakers, it is important for our partnership to place priority on tackling the root causes of conflicts in Africa, as well as taking measures in safeguarding peace and security if we are to achieve the African Union Agenda 2063.

“We also call for stronger support from the European Union in the condemnation and imposition of weighty sanctions on countries that engage in unconstitutional change of governments, as well as manipulation of constitutions in favor of extension of term limits.”

According to his spokesman, Garba Shehu, the Nigerian leader added that it was imperative to ensure that election processes in Africa have outcomes that truly reflect the wishes of the electorate, as to go contrary to these is courting instability.

He said, “we have a responsibility to reduce conflicts that stem from lack of good governance, unaccountability, corruption and social exclusion.

“Free, fair, credible, and transparent elections remain crucial elements in ensuring peace and security and promoting constitutional order, democracy, and inclusive governance on the continent.

“It is, therefore, imperative for our partnership to also focus on strengthening election processes in Africa and prevent interference to influence the process and outcomes of elections.”

President Buhari also called for the concretization and transformation of promises of cooperation made by the European leaders to actions.

“I wish to underscore the need to convert our pledges on political cooperation in the area of peace, security, and conflict prevention into concrete initiatives such as joint field missions, shared understanding and analysis on crisis situations, as well as joint early action and swift implementation of agreed positions.

“The movement and operation of terrorists and violent extremist groups along the Sahel could better be addressed through an improved Continental Early Warning Mechanism. Consequently, we believe there is a clear need to strengthen our cooperation on security with the European Union, particularly through improved intelligence sharing and acquisition of military equipment and hardware.

“We invite the EU to upscale its support for the G5 Sahel and the Multinational Joint Taskforce in the Lake Chad Region as we strive to further degrade the Boko-Haram insurgents and their Islamic State in the West Africa Province counterparts. Africa also looks up to Europe for enhanced support in the area of combating Illicit financial flows and terrorism funding that aid the activities of terrorists and violent extremist groups,” the president added.

He called for all hands to be on deck to ensure that Africa’s Blue Economy Agenda for development is realized.

“I must emphasize the importance of expanding regional and international cooperation on ocean governance, on the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing as well as on maritime security, including piracy, illicit trafficking and other maritime crimes and threats as reflected in the 2050 Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy,” the Nigerian leader added.

President Buhari Departs Abuja For EU-AU Summit In Belgium

President Muhammadu Buhari left the country on February 15, 2022 for Brussels, Belgium.
President Muhammadu Buhari left the country on February 15, 2022 for Brussels, Belgium.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday departed Abuja for a summit in Brussels, Belgium involving African and European leaders.

He is expected back in the country on Saturday.

According to a statement signed by presidential spokesperson Garba Shehu, “the summit, which holds February 17 – 18, 2022, will have the participants deliberate on themes currently affecting the world.

“Such areas of discussion include: Financing for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth; Climate Change and Energy Transition, Digital and Transport (Connectivity and Infrastructure); Peace, Security and Governance; and Private Sector Support and Economic Integration.

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“Others are: Education, Culture and Vocational Training, Migration and Mobility; Agriculture and Sustainable Development and Health Systems and Vaccine Production.

“The Nigerian leader will use the opportunity of the meeting to have other bilateral engagements.

“The President will be accompanied on the trip by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of State for the Environment, Sharon Ikeazor.

“The National Security Adviser, Maj.Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), Director General of the National Intelligence Agency , Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar and the Chief Executive Officer of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa will also be part of the entourage.”

Buhari To Attend EU-AU Summit In Belgium

File photo of President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari will today leave Abuja to attend the 6th European Union-African Union summit in Brussels, Belgium.

He will be joining European and other African leaders as Heads of Multilateral Organisations at the summit.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said, the summit which holds February 17 – 18, 2022, will have the participants deliberate on themes currently affecting the world.

Such areas of discussion include: Financing for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth; Climate Change and Energy Transition, Digital and Transport (Connectivity and Infrastructure); Peace, Security, and Governance; and Private Sector Support and Economic Integration.

Others are education, culture and vocational training, migration and mobility; agriculture and sustainable development and health systems, and vaccine production.

READ ALSO: Buhari Earmarks N2.5tn For Subsidy In Supplementary Budget Proposal To NASS

The Nigerian leader will use the opportunity of the meeting to have other bilateral engagements.

The President will be accompanied on the trip by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of State for the Environment, Sharon Ikeazor.

The National Security Adviser, Maj.Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar and the Chief Executive Officer of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa will also be part of the entourage.

President Buhari is expected back in the country on Saturday.

Belgium Closes Entertainment Venues As Omicron Spreads

A medical worker unpacks 50 Decathlon snorkeling masks, to be used with 3D-printed respiratory valves fittings on March 27, 2020. Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

 

Belgium’s government on Wednesday announced concert halls, cinemas and other entertainment venues would have to close from the weekend as Omicron cases increased.

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo told a media conference that while overall Covid infections were down 60 percent from where they were three weeks ago, worryingly three out of 10 positive tests were now of the Omicron variant.

“We have to be more careful than ever in this period where there are many uncertainties,” he said.

While entertainment venues would have to shut from Sunday, the additional restrictions would not affect museums, De Croo said.

He added that restaurants and bars would still be able to remain open until 11 pm, under curtailed hours imposed since the start of the month.

But, if the increase in Omicron cases led to more hospitalisations, he did not rule out stricter restrictions being brought in.

De Croo noted that so far nearly 40 percent of adults in Belgium had received booster shots.

France And Belgium Qualify For 2022 World Cup Finals

France’s forward Karim Benzema (C) is congratuled by teammates after scoring a goal during the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualification football match between France and Kazakhstan at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, on November 13, 2021. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

 

Holders France qualified for the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar by crushing Kazakhstan 8-0 on Saturday thanks to four goals from Kylian Mbappe, while Belgium also booked their ticket.

Didier Deschamps’ side outclassed the Kazakhs at the Parc des Princes in Paris to top Group D with Karim Benzema also scoring twice and Adrien Rabiot and Antoine Griezmann on the scoresheet as well.

Benzema told M6 television: “We got the goals, we didn’t concede any and we played some good football.”

READ ALSO: World Cup Qualifier: Osimhen, Musa Score To Lift Nigeria Over Liberia

Belgium, who were beaten by France in the semi-finals of the 2018 tournament, made sure of their spot in Qatar by beating Estonia 3-1 in Brussels to top Group E.

Christian Benteke opened the Belgians’ account before Yannick Carrasco and Thorgan Hazard completed the job. Estonia’s consolation goal came from Erik Sorga.

Belgium’s Red Devils players participate in a training session in Tubize, on November 12, 2021, on the eve of the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualification football match Belgium vs Estonia. (Photo by BRUNO FAHY / Belga / AFP) / Belgium.

 

The Netherlands threw away a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with Montenegro in Podgorica, meaning the Dutch still have to get a result against Norway on Tuesday to reach their first World Cup finals since 2014.

The Dutch are top of Group G with 20 points while Turkey have 18 points, the same total as Norway.

The Turks face Montenegro in their final game.

Europe Reels From Worst Floods In Years As Death Toll Nears 130

A picture taken on July 15, 2021, shows cars piled up by the water at a roundabout in the Belgian city of Verviers, after heavy rains and floods lashed western Europe, killing at least two people in Belgium. François WALSCHAERTS / AFP

 

 

Devastating floods have torn through entire villages and killed at least 128 people in Europe, most of them in western Germany where stunned emergency services were still combing the wreckage on Friday.

Unsuspecting residents were caught completely off guard by the torrent dubbed the “flood of death” by German newspaper Bild.

Streets and houses were submerged by water in some areas, while cars were left overturned on soaked streets after flood waters passed. Some districts were completely cut off.

“Everything was underwater within 15 minutes,” Agron Berischa, a 21-year-old decorator from Bad Neuenahr in Rhineland-Palatinate state, told AFP.

“Our flat, our office, our neighbours’ houses, everywhere was underwater.”

Europe Reels From Worst Floods In Years As Death Toll Nears 130
A man takes pictures of cars and rubble piled up in a street after the floods caused major damage in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, western Germany, on July 16, 2021.
Christof STACHE / AFP

 

 

In nearby Schuld, Hans-Dieter Vrancken, 65, said “caravans, cars were washed away, trees were uprooted, houses were knocked down”.

“We have lived here in Schuld for over 20 years and we have never experienced anything like it. It’s like a warzone,” he said.

Roger Lewentz, interior minister for Rheinland-Palatinate, told Bild the death toll was likely to rise as emergency services continued to search the affected areas over the coming days.

“When emptying cellars or pumping out cellars, we keep coming across people who have lost their lives in these floods,” he said.

With five more dead found in the state by Friday evening, the nationwide death toll mounted to 108.

Adding to the devastation, several more people were feared dead in a landslide in the town of Erftstadt in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) triggered by the floods.

In neighbouring Belgium, the government confirmed the death toll had jumped to 20 — earlier reports had said 23 dead — with more than 21,000 people left without electricity in one region.

Calling the floods “possibly the most catastrophic our country has ever seen,” Prime Minister Alexander De Croo declared Tuesday a day of national mourning.

Luxembourg and the Netherlands were also hammered by heavy rains, inundating many areas and forcing thousands to be evacuated in the city of Maastricht.

People stand in a devastated street in an area completely destroyed by the flood in the Blessem district of Erftstadt, western Germany, on July 16, 2021. (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP)

Fearing the worst

In Germany’s hard-hit Ahrweiler district in Rhineland-Palatinate, several houses collapsed completely, drawing comparisons to the aftermath of a tsunami.

At least 24 people were confirmed dead in Euskirchen, one of the worst-affected towns.

“I fear that we will only see the full extent of the disaster in the coming days,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said late Thursday from Washington, where she met with President Joe Biden.

“My empathy and my heart go out to all of those who in this catastrophe lost their loved ones, or who are still worrying about the fate of people still missing.”

In Ahrweiler, around 1,300 people were unaccounted for, although local authorities told Bild the high number was likely due to damaged phone networks.

Lewentz told local media that up to 60 people were believed to be missing, “and when you haven’t heard from people for such a long time… you have to fear the worst”.

Soldiers of the German armed forces Bundeswehr search for flood victims in submerged vehicles on the federal highway B265 in Erftstadt, western Germany, on July 17, 2021 (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP)

Billions in damage

Gerd Landsberg, head of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, said the cost of the damage was likely to run into “billions of euros”.

In Belgium, the army has been sent to four of the country’s 10 provinces to help with rescue and evacuations.

The swollen Meuse river “is going to look very dangerous for Liege”, a nearby city of 200,000 people, warned Wallonia regional president Elio Di Rupo.

In Switzerland, lakes and rivers were also swelling after heavy overnight rainfall. In Lucerne in particular, Lake Lucerne had begun to flood the city centre.

Some parts of western Europe received up to two months’ worth of rainfall in two days on soil that was already near saturation, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

But there was some improvement Friday as the water level began to fall back.

Aerial view taken on July 15, 2021 shows the flooded village of Schuld, near Adenau, western Germany. Christoph Reichwein / dpa / AFP

Climate change?

The severe storms have put climate change back at the centre of Germany’s election campaign ahead of a September 26 poll marking the end of Merkel’s 16 years in power.

Speaking in Berlin, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Germany would “only be able to curb extreme weather situations if we engage in a determined fight against climate change”.

The country “must prepare much better” in future, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said, adding that “this extreme weather is a consequence of climate change”.

Because a warmer atmosphere holds more water, climate change increases the risk and intensity of flooding from extreme rainfall.

In urban areas with poor drainage and buildings located in flood zones, the damage can be severe.

North Rhine-Westphalia premier Armin Laschet, the conservative running to succeed Merkel, called for “speeding up” global efforts to fight climate change, underlining the link between global warming and extreme weather.

AFP