Floods cut power to 200,000 households in western Germany, parts of Rhine closed to shipping

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Floods in western Germany have cut electricity to 200,000 households, a spokeswoman for Westnetz, the country’s biggest power distribution grid company, said on Thursday.

“We are trying to resolve the situation with all available hands on deck,” she said in response to an inquiry.

The company’s grid area spans large parts of the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, but not the cities of Cologne, Wuppertal and Duesseldorf. It supplies around 7.5 million with power, gas, water and heat.

She said many power substations could not be reached for repairs because roads were still blocked. Some unreachable installations were being monitored with drones.

Westnetz was working with authorities and crisis response teams across the region, she said.

Some rail and road transport has been disrupted across the region, and shipping on parts of the Rhine, an important trade artery, was suspended on Thursday while more heavy rain was due in southwestern Germany.

Meanwhile, parts of the river Rhine in south Germany were closed to shipping on Thursday after a rise in water levels following recent heavy rain, German authorities said.

River shipping has been stopped around Maxau and Iffezheim, a spokesperson for the German inland waterways navigation agency said.

The blockage is likely to remain until the weekend, preventing vessels from sailing to Switzerland, he said.

High water means vessels to not have enough space to sail under bridges. Shipping in northern sectors of the river are still operating.

The Rhine is an important shipping route for commodities including minerals, coal and oil products such as heating oil, grains and animal feed. 

See also: Six Dead, 30 Missing In Germany As Houses Collapse In Floods

Photo: A damaged road and a car after flooding in Bad Muenstereifel, Germany, 15 July 2021. Large parts of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) were hit by heavy, continuous rain in the night to Wednesday, resulting in local flash floods that destroyed buildings and swept away cars. EPA-EFE/SASCHA STEINBACH

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