German railway: floods caused $ 1.5 billion in network damage
BERLIN (AP) – The German national rail operator estimated on Friday that flooding last week caused damage worth € 1.3 billion ($ 1.5 billion) to its network, offering another glimpse of the extent of the devastation.
Authorities are still struggling to determine the overall cost of the floods that caused their worst damage in western Germany and eastern Belgium. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said this week that the damage is “immense” and will take a long time to repair.
At least 177 people have died in Germany in the floods and a further 31 deaths have been reported in Belgium, bringing the total death toll to 208.
German rail operator Deutsche Bahn said more than 50 bridges, 180 level crossings, nearly 40 signal posts, more than 1,000 electrical and signal masts, as well as energy and lighting systems and station elevators were damaged.
“Never before has our infrastructure been destroyed so much in one go,” said Volker Hentschel, board member of the company’s DB Netz infrastructure division. He said his initial estimate is that the flooding caused damage to the rail network and stations of around 1.3 billion euros.
The government, which owns Deutsche Bahn, has pledged to start reconstruction efforts quickly. Hentschel said it would take “months, if not years” to restore everything, although the company is confident it can repair 80% of damaged infrastructure by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, Turkey has also experienced flooding in recent days. Work continued to find a person missing following flooding on Wednesday in Artvin province, in the northeast of the country, and one person was being treated for injuries. More than 450 people were evacuated.
At least six people were killed last week and two were missing after flooding in neighboring Rize province.