German music festival cancelled over stormy weather

Fans were being sent home early from a major German music festival after the event was cancelled by local authorities on Sunday due to heavy storms in which 71 people were injured by lightning strikes according to the Red Cross.

The authorities in Mendig in the western state of Rhineland-Palatinate withdrew the permit from the Rock am Ring festival in the area as more storms have been forecast, a spokeswoman said.

The concert, which had drawn some 90,000 visitors, had resumed for a few hours on Saturday evening, with Californian rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers taking to the stage.

Chief organizer Marek Lieberberg told dpa it was a case of "force majeure," but said he would have preferred it if the authorities allowed the event to finish on Sunday.

Elsewhere in Germany, a 12-year-old boy in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries after being struck by lightening on a playing field, while 13 people received mild injuries.

A further four people were injured when lightning struck their house in Bavaria.

Torrential rainfall and severe storms in northern Bavaria led the district of Weilheim-Schongau to declare a state of emergency on Sunday, as various regional authorities struggled to deal with flooding in local villages.

Emergency services said they had been receiving calls almost every minute during the night.

Meanwhile in the western city of Bonn, municipal authorities set up a crisis team after heavy rainfall caused several rivers to burst their banks, leaving basements flooded and streets partially under water.

Recent floods in southern Germany claimed the lives of seven people and caused hundreds of millions of euros in damage.

However German authorities have said they can see only limited means of protecting citizens from flash flooding.

"Natural disasters like flash floods come so quickly and severely that they can hardly be predicted or controlled," Thomas Keller, head of the water management office in the Bavarian city of Ansbach, told dpa.

In areas like Ansbach, where the local river Rezat rose by the second, it is impossible to warn people in time, Keller said.

Last update: Sun, 05/06/2016 - 21:49
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