Whole areas washed away by the floods, entire villages wiped out, houses destroyed. More than 160 people have died. Despite excellent infrastructure and sound disaster relief, the effects of extreme weather on Germany are devastating. On the night of 15 July, storms destroyed whole swaths of land in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate. Shortly afterwards, heavy rain ravaged Bavaria and wreaked havoc in the Netherlands, Austria, and Belgium. Only in the days that followed did the full extent of the catastrophe become apparent. Now, people are returning to their homes, or what’s left of them. They are overwhelmed by their own helplessness and by the force and speed with which entire livelihoods have been wiped out. Now, the big cleanup begins—which will take years. How are people in the affected regions coping?
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