German Cabinet backs nearly $48 billion flood recovery fund

BERLIN – The German Cabinet on Wednesday (Aug 18) approved a €30 billion (S$47.8 billion) recovery fund for areas in western and southern Germany hit by heavy rainfall and flooding last month that took many towns by surprise despite extreme weather warnings.

Of the €30 billion, €28 billion will be between the federal government and the states, a government official said.

The remaining €2 billion would be provided by Berlin for infrastructure projects.

The government aims for Parliament to vote the package through in September.

More than 180 people died in the country’s worst natural disaster in over half a century, which also destroyed many homes, roads, railway lines and bridges.

The floods have shaken up German politics ahead of a national election in September, raising uncomfortable questions about why Europe’s largest economy was caught flat-footed and how to prepare for the impact of global warming.

Two-thirds of Germans believe that federal and regional policymakers should have done more to protect communities, a survey for German newspaper Bild showed late last month.

Mr Armin Laschet, the conservative candidate for chancellor, has seen his ratings slump since he was seen laughing on a visit to a flood-stricken town.

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