Germany's leader Angela Merkel expressed fears about climate change after the devastation from the severe flooding in Europe. Ms Merkel said she was horrified by the destruction across swathes of Europe. She visited the hardest-hit areas in Germany and listened to accounts of the disaster from local residents. She said: "It's shocking. I can pretty much say that the German language does not have words to describe the destruction." Ms Merkel said the world had to escalate efforts to tackle the climate crisis. She said: "We have to be faster in the fight against climate change."
Torrential rains caused many rivers to swell and overflow last week. Many burst their banks and caused flash floods in adjacent areas. Floodwaters washed away houses, roads and bridges across Germany, Belgium and other countries. The death toll is now 190, with many people missing. Towns are covered in debris and some areas are beyond recognition. Ms Merkel described this as being "surreal". The premier of one flood-stricken state said the clean-up operation would take "years". He questioned Germany's preparedness for floods and the effectiveness of flood defences.