Flood clean-up efforts start in Germany, but more storms predicted

German rescue teams on Monday took advantage of a break after days of storms to clear up some of the worst damage, but meteorologists warned that more bad weather was on the horizon.

All existing weather warnings were lifted overnight into Monday, said the German Weather Service. But it quickly pointed out that new ones could be put in place for southern and western Germany later Monday.

Clean-up work continued in the southern state of Bavaria - site of some of the worst flooding of the last week - with about 100 soldiers from the Bundeswehr expected to arrive in the stricken town of Simbach am Inn to provide aid.

"They're here to support the existing workers and volunteers, who are at the edge of their capacities," said Robert Kubitschek, spokesman for the local government.

The soldiers will come with two front-end loaders and an excavator. They will also help out in the nearby town of Triftern.

"We have so many areas where we could use them," said Klaus Schmid, mayor of Simbach.

Flooding last week claimed seven lives and caused an estimated 1 billion euros (1.1 billion dollars) in damage.

The stormy weather also disrupted this weekend's Rock am Ring music concert, which was cancelled Sunday after a weekend in which 71 people were injured by lightning and the stage sat empty for hours at a time until authorities agreed it was safe to proceed.

Event organizer Marek Lieberberg told the Rheinischen Post newspaper on Monday that he thought officials in the western Germany community of Mendig made a mistake when they pulled the plug on the annual event upon the advice of police.

Ending the show on Sunday left 90,000 people with little choice but to head home. But the muddy conditions meant many of their vehicles became stuck.

"It reminded me a bit of a desertion, as the fans trudged their way across the field, leaving their belongings behind," he told the paper, arguing it would have been more orderly to let the show go on while warning fans about the risks.

"The officials would not budge and held stoically to their viewpoint," he said.

The responsible municipalities said in a statement Monday that the decision was "appropriate, proportionate and constructive," and that there was no alternative.

They defended the decision, calling it a "defence against imminent danger to life and limb."

Lieberberg's spokeswoman Katharina Wenisch declined to comment on the consequences of the decision for the organizer.

A police spokesman said Monday that all fans have left the festival grounds, though some cars remain stuck there.

Elsewhere, an Audi factory in the southern town of Neckarsulm reported that it was back online after flooding forced a temporary shutdown. The company reported some flooding damage and a fire amid the storms.

And, in western Germany, the town of Lorch, population 880, reported that its drinking water supply had been partially disrupted after heavy rains. Tanker trucks have been employed to bring in water.

The problem was caused by excessive rains, which caused a backup of water that tainted the supplies. The water is "not poisonous," but "by no means fit for drinking water," said Mayor Juergen Helbing. Fire crews are pumping away the excess water.

Last update: Mon, 06/06/2016 - 22:29
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