Enlarge image

Floods in Lower Saxony: Flooded meadows near Winsen

Photo: Lars Penning / dpa

The floods have parts of Germany firmly in their grip – now the Chancellor wants to get an idea of the situation for himself. Initially, the »Bild« had reported on it, this coincides with SPIEGEL information. Accordingly, Olaf Scholz wants to thank the helpers and show solidarity with those affected. The exact time and place of the visit are still secret. "In the Chancellery, however, they are preparing a helicopter flight to the flood areas very soon," writes the »Bild«.

Parts of Lower Saxony, the south of Saxony-Anhalt on the border with Thuringia and areas in North Rhine-Westphalia are particularly affected by the floods. On Saturday, however, there were signs of a slight easing in some places in Lower Saxony.

Oldenburg prepares possible evacuation

Most of the deployments took place on Saturday in Lower Saxony, where flood warnings were in effect in large parts of the country. After days of continuous use, helpers in some places were able to breathe a sigh of relief. The district of Celle and the city of Meppen, for example, spoke of slightly falling water levels. However, the highest reporting level at the gauges was still exceeded, so that there was still a threat of major flooding, according to the district of Celle.

In the city of Oldenburg, meanwhile, a possible evacuation is being prepared. The dikes are still exposed to high pressure, the city announced. Water levels would drop marginally at most. The Federal Police is supporting the dike protection there.

In the Serengeti Park in Hodenhagen, Lower Saxony, the critical flood situation has now eased slightly. Pumps on the site had managed to push large amounts of water behind the dike towards Meisse, said a spokeswoman for the amusement park north of Hanover. According to the park, however, large parts of the site are still flooded and in some cases cannot be reached at all. The park is home to lions, rhinos, tigers and elephants, among others.

In some places, the masses of water also attract onlookers. In an interview with SPIEGEL, Lower Saxony's Minister of the Interior, Daniela Behrens, warns that the situation remains critical – but there are still sightings of kite surfers. You can read the full interview here.

In recent days, there has been a critical look at how present politicians are in the flood areas. Scholz is particularly exposed to a comparison: Shortly before the 2002 federal elections, the then SPD Chancellor Gerhard Schröder had traveled to the town of Grimma in the district of Leipzig, which was particularly affected by the floods.