26 Jul 2021, 12:25
Jessica Bateman

Damage to German rail company after flood disaster totals over €1 billion

Clean Energy Wire / WirtschaftsWoche / Handelsblatt

The cost of damage to industry after the devastating floods in western Germany will total well over 1 billion euros. Most severely affected is the national train operator Deutsche Bahn, which announced in a press release that the destruction to bridges, signal boxes, level crossings and stations on a “historic” scale will total around 1.3 billion euros, according to first estimates. According to an article in Handelsblatt, the company has no insurance cover for much of the damage, but the German state is expected to support the company.

Following the floods, utility company RWE had announced in a press release (17 July) that its Inden open cast mine and connected Weisweiler power station were both “massively” affected due to floodwater entering the mine. The power station was running at reduced capacity for a while. According to an article in WirtschaftsWoche, the plant of automotive supplier ZF in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Rhineland-Palatinate, was not in operation after being devastated by the floods.

Extreme rain caused the otherwise sluggishly flowing rivers in the southwest of Germany to overflow, leading to a natural disaster that counts among the worst in the country’s post-war history. The floods have also heavily affected parts of neighbouring Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg. German politicians have debated the link between catastrophic floods and climate change. Chancellor Angela Merkel and chancellor candidates Armin Laschet (CDU), Annalena Baerbock (Greens) and Olaf Scholz (SPD) have all called for the acceleration of climate action efforts after visiting the affected areas.

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