German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday toured the “shocking” aftermath of record flooding in the country and vowed to ramp up efforts to combat climate change — as the death toll climbed to more than 180, according to reports.
Merkel, who described the wreckage she surveilled as “terrifying,” pledged to hasten efforts to clean up the damage caused by the severe flooding.
“We are by your side,” she said, according to the BBC.
The outlet reported that at least 188 people in Belgium and Germany have died in the devastating floods as of Sunday morning.
After seeing the condition of the German city of Schuld, one of the hardest hit areas, Merkel said she got a “real picture of, I must say, the surreal, ghostly situation.”
“It is shocking. I can almost say that the German language doesn’t have words for the destruction that’s been wreaked,” Merkel reportedly added.
Merkel, a veteran German politician, said she had been pleased to see Germans band together to assistant one another.
“What I could see, however, is also incredibly comforting — how people are sticking together, how they are helping each other, the solidarity that is there.”
“Thankfully, Germany is a country that can manage this financially,” Merkel added, according to the Associated Press.
In response to the flooding that ravaged Germany, as well as Belgium, Switzerland, Luxmberg and the Netherlands, Merkel asked that global leaders “be faster in the battle against climate change,” the BBC reported.
“Germany is a strong country and we will stand up to this force of nature in the short term — but also in the medium and long term, through policy that pays more regard to nature and the climate than we did in recent years,” she said, according to the AP. “That will be necessary too.”
Record rainfall in Western Europe on Thursday knocked down buildings and swept away vehicles, leaving the country and its neighbors in a state of disarray. The death toll and number of people missing has inched upwards in the days after the deluge.
Malu Dreyer, the governor of Rhineland-Palatinate state, lamented the suffering the flooding brought to his locality.
“There are people dead, there are people missing, there are many who are still in danger,” Dreyer said last week.
“We have never seen such a disaster. It’s really devastating.”