Torrential rains and flooding are wreaking havoc in parts of Germany and Switzerland. The level of the river Rhine in the south west of Germany is close to its maximum of almost 8.5 metres. One man has died as a result of the floods. Police believe he tried to save some of his belongings in the flooded basement of his house but got into difficulties. The raging waters have paralysed boat traffic on some parts of the Rhine. The German environment minister warns that higher water levels can be expected in the coming years. In neighbouring Switzerland, the heavy rains hitting the country since Wednesday disrupted transport and shut down roads. But local officials say that the situation is showing signs of improvement and the worst may be over.
“The situation is very bad, all the villages near lake Biel are hit hard, as well as the other nearby villages. Many of the buildings are flooded,” said Werner Kuehnert of the Bern canton. Swiss officials report that the water levels have dropped but the floods have left one person dead and another seriously injured as well as enormous damage to property. In the aftermath of two days of continuous downpours, initial estimates put the damage at almost 40 million euros.