The three-river city of passau is hit by the worst floods since 1501. Because of the immense water masses a contamination of the drinking water wells threatens, the municipal utilities passau had to stop the drinking water supply, as the crisis staff on monday announced. German chancellor angela merkel (CDU) plans to visit passau this tuesday together with minister president horst seehofer (CSU) to get a picture of the dramatic situation. She promised help to the victims of the floods in germany: "the federal government will also see what we can do to help, as will the states", she said in berlin on monday.
The bavarian state government wants to alleviate the consequences of the flood disaster in passau and southeast bavaria with an aid program of 150 million euros. This was decided by the crisis committee in munich. According to the bavarian chamber of insurance, the extent of the damage cannot yet be quantified.
Thousands of emergency workers continued to fight the floods on monday. According to interior minister joachim herrmann (CSU), they were supported by 650 soldiers from the german armed forces, with a further 350 soldiers to follow.
Due to the easing of the precipitation, there were signs of an initial easing of the situation in some places – but in passau in particular, the situation continued to deteriorate. On monday afternoon, the level of the danube rose to 12.50 meters, surpassing the century flood of 1954 with 12.20 meters. Only in 1501 had the water level been higher, at around 13.20 meters. A normal level for this time of year would now be up to 4.50 meters, said a spokesman for the crisis team in passau.
The old town of passau and other parts of the city center are heavily flooded. The brown masses of water from the danube, inn and ilz rivers turned streets and alleys into canals. The water is partly up to the second floor of the houses. The relief workers were on their way in the old town with 22 boats. Part of the power had to be cut off there. The crisis team worked at high pressure to restore the drinking water supply to the population.
The city offered three emergency shelters on monday, including one in the dreilanderhalle. The city center was only accessible via the highway exits passau sud and passau mitte, because several federal highways and main roads had to be blocked.
The situation also remained tense in kelheim and regensburg. In rosenheim, the situation was dramatic after a dam burst on the auerbach during the night – in the night to monday, around 170 more people had to be brought to safety after evacuations had already been carried out on sunday. The water was up to 1.50 meters high in the streets there.
Seehofer and bavarian economics minister martin zeil (FDP) were briefed on the flood situation in rosenheim on monday afternoon, after which a short visit to regensburg was planned. "Of course, one is already impressed when one sees the catastrophe here on site, also the concern of the people, the fear of the people", seehofer said.
"The dike in kolbermoor is not broken", michael fischer from the district office in rosenheim was delighted. If the situation does not worsen, the mangfall dike in the neighboring town of rosenheim will no longer be in acute danger. Parts of the municipality are already flooded.
In the counties of miesbach and berchtesgadener land, as well as in the other flood regions in upper bavaria, the situation began to ease after the rain had stopped. However, numerous roads were still flooded. People brought to safety along the salzach in freilassing were able to return to their homes. The situation also eased on the main in lower franconia.
Since the start of the rain last thursday, 170 to 380 liters of rain per square meter were measured in the alpine region until monday morning, according to the german weather service – in aschau (district of rosenheim) it was even 407 liters per square meter. "This area is particularly hard hit by heavy rains. When the wind from the north presses the humid air against the mountains, it leads to heavy congestion. As a result, it is raining heavily there", explained meteorologist volker wunsche.
On monday, classes were canceled at many schools in the flooded areas. In passau, classes at all schools will be canceled this tuesday and wednesday as well, the crisis staff announced.
Agriculture minister helmut brunner pledges unbureaucratic aid to farmers affected by floods. Due to the continuous rain, the harvest of some crops such as strawberries and asparagus has almost completely failed in some regions, the CSU politician said on monday during a visit to the district of deggendorf. The extent of the damage, however, could not yet be estimated.