German flood alert system criticised for ‘monumental failure’

German flood alert system criticised for ‘monumental failure’

Questions raised over lack of warning as death toll passes 150 and villages are left without drinking water, power or gas

Germany is asking itself how one of the world’s richest countries managed to be taken by surprise by last week’s extreme weather events, as more details emerge of how early warnings about record rainfall and expected floods did not make their way to the communities most at risk.

In Erftstadt, south of Cologne, where a flooded gravel quarry swallowed up cars, houses and parts of a historic castle, residents who had installed the federal government’s weather warning app were advised on Wednesday to stay inside their house.

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