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Council sends condolences in wake of German floods

Councillor Barry Lewis, Derbyshire County Council leader.

A heartfelt letter of support has been sent to the President of Germany from the leader of Derbyshire County Council to express his deepest condolences following severe flooding which claimed the lives of at least 171 people in western Germany.

In the letter addressed to President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Councillor Barry Lewis extended an offer of assistance following the devastating floods which saw two months’ worth of rain fall in two days, leaving more than 760 people injured in addition to the fatalities and more than 150 people missing.

He wrote: “It is with disbelief and horror that I heard the news from Europe and I write to express my deepest condolences for the terrible loss the people of Germany have suffered. I am sure you will have been inundated with offers of help from around the world and we in in Derbyshire, in the United Kingdom, also offer our assistance.

“Derbyshire has experienced flooding and extreme weather events over the last few years, although obviously nothing compared to the scale you are experiencing, and as such we have some small understanding of the shock, devastation and human impact such events cause. It is very clear to me that the world is seeing the consequences of climate change now taking effect and the impact is intolerable. 

“We stand with you - as colleagues in local government and with many of our towns and regions twinned with German regions – in solidarity and offer assistance should it be helpful. My thoughts, and those of the people of Derbyshire, are with you at this terrible time.”

The full extent of damage to the infrastructure in western Germany is still being assessed after thousands were left without drinking water, electricity and gas, pipelines were severed, and bridges and train tracks were swept away.

In the High Peak, a major incident was declared in August 2019 after the dam at Toddbrook Reservoir threatened to burst its banks and flood the village of Whaley Bridge following a week of heavy rainfall.

In November 2019, a month’s worth of rain fell in two days causing severe and widespread flooding leading to the tragic death of a former Derbyshire High Sherriff. More than 350 homes and businesses flooded and some of the county’s rivers were the highest they had been for 60 years.

Further flooding was experienced across Derbyshire again in February 2020 following extensive rainfall.

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