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Germany's leader has expressed her fears about climate change after visiting devastation caused by severe flooding in Europe. Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was horrified by destruction across swathes of her country. She visited some of hardest-hit areas in Germany and listened to accounts of disaster from local residents. She told reporters: "It's shocking. I can pretty much say that German language does not have words to describe destruction that has been wreaked." Ms Merkel said the world had to escalate its efforts to tackle climate crisis. She said: "We must hurry. We have to be faster in fight against climate change."

Torrential rains caused many of Europe's major rivers to swell and overflow last week. Many burst their banks and caused flash floods in adjacent towns and villages. floodwaters washed away houses, roads and bridges across Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and the Netherlands. The death toll stands at 190, with many more people missing. Towns are now covered in debris. floods reshaped many parts of towns beyond recognition, which Ms Merkel described as being "surreal". Armin Laschet, premier of the flood-stricken state of North-Rhine Westphalia, said clean-up operation would take "years". He questioned Germany's preparedness for floods and effectiveness of flood defences.

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