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Floods recede in Bavaria: government criticized

Floods recede in Bavaria: government criticized

Floods Recede

Floodwaters have begun to recede along the Danube River in Lower Bavaria. The government is being criticized for cutting funds for flood prevention. Bavaria’s Premier Markus Söder has recently made several trips to the flood-hit regions.

Resident Robert, perched on a bench by the flooded riverbank at the tip of the narrow peninsula where Passau’s old town is situated, watched floodwaters receding from nearby basements. The square in front of his apartment, usually buzzing with tourists, was eerily quiet. The kindergarten teacher, who moved into a first-floor apartment here two years ago, observed, “People go on holiday to be by the water. Well, we’ve got it right at our front door.”

Passau, known as the “Three Rivers City,” lies at the confluence of the Danube, Inn, and Ilz rivers and has a population of around 54,000. A state of emergency was declared here on Tuesday as streets and squares in the picturesque old town were flooded up to a high of 9.7 meters — significantly above the normal level of 6 meters. As the clean-up efforts continued in Passau, tourists and residents alike could still enjoy ice creams and Aperol spritzes in the city-center streets untouched by the floods.

Flood prevention funding cuts criticized.

Stavros, who runs a Greek restaurant on the peninsula where cruise ships dock, noted how his business is well-insured against such damage. “If the insurers keep their promise, then we’re covered for at least the days we’ve had to close,” he said.

He estimates the damage to his restaurant business to be between €80,000 and €90,000. Susanne, who has run a hair salon on the square since 1995, mentioned that they were better prepared this time compared to the floods in 2013 that destroyed her business. “Everything’s been sorted much quicker this time, the preparations worked,” she said.

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So far, no damages or breaches had been found in the dykes around Passau, according to a spokesperson for the Lower Bavaria police headquarters. Bavaria’s state premier, Markus Söder, praised the 60,000 rescue workers deployed throughout the state, calling their efforts “superhuman.” He promised additional financial aid for the region beyond the €4 billion already invested in flood protection since 2001. Söder’s calls for federal assistance were met with mixed reactions, and his comments claiming that “nobody could have expected” such extensive floods were swiftly ridiculed on social media.

Ronja Hofmann from Bavaria accused Söder of “flood tourism” to gain votes ahead of the upcoming election. “After an entire EU election campaign with a pro-emissions message, the Premier is now trying to present himself as statesmanlike and responsible,” she told the Passauer Neue Presse.

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