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Flood disaster: Doctors warn of germs – more and more flood victims and helpers could get sick

Over 150 people are still missing after the flood disaster, but a doctor is now warning of illnesses in the flood areas affected.

Berlin – The flood disaster literally overran Germany, the masses of water caused many deaths, still missing, countless houses and villages destroyed. Many people are left with nothing, the hope of finding the missing people alive is fading. Now, however, a doctor is also warning helpers who have been tidying up the regions tirelessly for days. More and more of them could get sick.

Flood disaster in Germany: many people are still missing

The Vice President of the Technical Relief Organization (THW), Sabine Lackner, currently sees little chance of finding survivors. “We are currently still looking for missing people, for example when clearing the paths or pumping out the basement,” she told the editorial network Germany (RND) . “At this point, however, it is unfortunately very likely that you can only rescue victims, not save them.”

The number of flood deaths had risen to at least 170 within a week by Tuesday. 122 deaths from storms were confirmed from Rhineland-Palatinate and 48 from North Rhine-Westphalia. People were still missing on Tuesday – 155 in the particularly affected district of Ahrweiler in the north of Rhineland-Palatinate.

Flood disaster in Germany: medical professionals warn of local diseases

Even days after the catastrophe, a picture of devastation can be seen in many localities, helpers and emergency services toil to be able to eliminate the consequences of the flood as quickly as possible. But it is precisely these helpers and flood victims who are currently falling ill with increasing frequency, because the hygienic conditions on site are an ideal breeding ground for germs. As physician Dr. Specht told RTL that many of the helpers come into contact with contaminated water. The result: wound infections and often intestinal diseases.

As the expert explains to the TV broadcaster, there are currently a lot of intestinal germs floating in the affected areas. The currently warm temperatures in many places would still favor the spread of the germs. The reason for the contamination is, for example, flooded sewage treatment plants or toilet flushes, which cannot be discharged into the sewer system. According to the expert, these germs could, on the one hand, lead to intestinal diseases. Or even with minimally small wounds to wound infections.

Like Dr. Specht further explained to RTL that for this reason it is advisable to wear gloves when cleaning up. “Even walking around barefoot is not a good idea,” the expert continues. Frequent hand washing or disinfection is important in order not to bring the dangerous germs into contact with the mucous membranes.

Flood disaster in Germany: Some practices are currently no longer able to work

The Marburger Bund doctors’ union is also concerned about the care of patients in the disaster areas. Some medical practices in Rhineland-Palatinate are no longer able to work, it said on Tuesday – practices not affected by floods would have to provide care for patients in such a situation. It would also make sense if provisional “emergency practices” and “emergency pharmacies” were set up for the chronically ill and other patients in municipalities and city districts.

The dam of the Steinbachtalsperre in North Rhine-Westphalia threatened to break because of the floods. Until a 68-year-old building contractor stepped in and defused the situation. Floods surprised thousands of people in many places in China. Hundreds of people were trapped by the water in the subway.

List of rubric lists: © Thomas Frey / dpa

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