Alerts and evacuations: German justice investigates after deadly floods

After Liège, the Koblenz public prosecutor’s office is launching an audit to examine whether, during the disasters of mid-July, alerts and evacuations were “possibly neglected or delayed” in Rhineland-Palatinate.

What if the warning system and evacuation measures in western Germany were insufficient or even faulty? After the deadly floods of mid-July which caused landslides and made at least 186 dead across the Rhine, as well as 38 in Belgium, the German justice is wondering. The institution announced this Monday with a view to launching possible criminal proceedings.

The public prosecutor’s office in Koblenz, in the north of Rhineland-Palatinate, “examines the opening of a preliminary investigation on the basis of suspicion of homicides and unintentional injuries”, according to a press release from the authority , responsible for the region. This Land alone lists 67 of 138 dead and 26 people are still wanted.

Prosecutors to consider the possibility of prosecuting due to “possibly neglected or delayed warnings or evacuations” of the inhabitants of the Ahr valley, a region whose municipalities have been ravaged by floods . An audit will be carried out, bringing together “the numerous press articles, the conclusions of the ongoing investigations into the deaths as well as the police reports from the night of the disaster”. The prosecution will then determine “if they give rise to a first suspicion of criminal offenses”.

Seized for “manslaughter” The disaster climate of 14 and 15 July deeply marked Germany and Belgium . The anticipation of meteorological events by the authorities, the functioning of the warning system and evacuation measures were all subjects of controversy in the two countries.

In Belgium, a examining magistrate was seized for “involuntary homicides by lack of foresight or precaution” according to the prosecution of Liège, in Wallonia , Wednesday. The French-speaking region in the south of the country is the one that has been the most affected in the country.