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German chancellor tours flooded regions in the northwest, praises authorities and volunteers – WTOP News

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz took a helicopter flight Sunday to check the flooded regions in the northwest…

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz took a helicopter flight Sunday to check the flooded regions in the northwest of the country, where rivers have swelled and overflowed homes, roads and fields after weeks of heavy rain.

In recent days, hundreds of people have been evacuated from affected areas in northern and eastern Germany as a precaution.

Scholz landed in the morning in the town of Verden in Lower Saxony where dikes along rivers were soaked with water and close to bursting in some parts of the state.

Talking to reporters near the Aller river which has flooded parts of Verden, Scholz thanked “the police, the fire department, the federal agency for technical relief and the German Armed Forces” for their joint efforts.

“It is important that we stick together,” he said.

The chancellor also expressed gratitude to the “countless citizens of our country who are now sacrificing their time and putting themselves in danger to ensure safety for us all.”

Thousands of volunteers have helped fill and distribute millions of sandbags used to protect homes from the floods, said the governor of Lower Saxony, Stephan Weil, who accompanied Scholz on his tour of the hard-hit region.

In Haren in the region of Emsland close to the Dutch border, emergency services used sandbags to repair part of a dike on Sunday night. In Wathlingen near the city of Celle, hundreds of people helped stabilize parts of a dike that was washed out, German news agency dpa reported.

In the eastern state of Thuringia, the county of Mansfeld-Suedharz declared a state of emergency on Sunday as several villages on the Helme river were threatened by the rising waters, dpa reported, where around 130 emergency staffers also secured a heavily soaked dike with thousands of sandbags to keep it from bursting.

Lauding the combined efforts, Scholz said, “I believe that this shows that there is solidarity in our country and a willingness to stick together.”

The chancellor also promised the federal government would help support affected states and local authorities in coping with the crisis “to the best of its ability.”

In the summer of 2021, Germany and Belgium were hit by deadly floods that killed more than 230 people.

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