Rains in Greece and Libya dwarf Germany’s 2021 disaster, must spur action – climate researcher
The record rainfalls triggering deadly floods in Libya and Greece dwarf the precipitation that caused Germany’s 2021 flood catastrophe, and are a grim reminder of the need to act on and adapt to climate change, said German climate researcher Mojib Latif in an interview with public broadcaster BR. “In the past week, we’ve measured rainfall volumes never seen before in Europe,” Latif said. “At times, this has been multiple times the volume we’ve seen in the Ahr Valley flood,” the researcher said, pointing to Germany’s worst floods catastrophe in decades that killed 135 people in the region and dozens more across Europe in 2021. The heavy rains that fell “in a very, very short time” in the Mediterranean had become “a sort of Medicane” that can be attributed to climate change, the researcher from the GEOMAR marine research institute stressed. Latif said Europe has been complacent with respect to the damages expected from global warming for too long and needed to adapt quickly. “I think this is beginning to change now,” he added. “We’re starting to see that climate change not only means higher temperatures, but especially more extreme weather, more potential for damage and above all a gigantic challenge for people’s health.”
The storm that hit several countries in the Eastern Mediterranean region had triggered unprecedented floods in northern Greece and killed more than 5,000 people in Libya alone. The damages from torrential rains and floods, but also from forest fires, droughts, and storms have risen across Europe in the past years, leading the EU to call for a revision of disaster response funding that is starting to become overstretched by the number of incidents occurring in a short span of time. European countries are struggling to adapt to the fast-mounting challenges of a heating climate and are seeking strategies that allow to better cope with the effects natural disasters have on health, food production and economic stability.