Once its strength, water now threatens Germany

BAD MUENSTEREIFEL, Germany, July 23 (Reuters) – Bad Muenstereifel’s transformation from picturesque but sleepy German tourist town into an outlet shopping centre put it on the map for millions of visitors.

Then floods laid waste to its medieval streets and half-timbered buildings, highlighting the vulnerability of Europe’s top economy to an increasingly unpredictable climate.

Beyond the town, the flooding stretched from an area close to the western city of Cologne down to southern Bavaria, hitting the historic centres of Aachen and Trier and leaving a trail of destruction behind it.

In recent years, other heavy floods have hit other parts of Germany, overflowing the banks of the waterways that have played such a key role in its prosperity.

Those floods have caused tens of billions of euros of damage – a much bigger economic hit than any of Germany’s neighbours have suffered from inundations, according to a study by Swiss Re, which insures insurers.

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Source: Reuters