German cabinet backs 30 bln euro flood recovery fund

Collapsed houses are seen on a flood-affected area following heavy rainfalls in Schuld
Collapsed houses are seen on a flood-affected area following heavy rainfalls in Schuld, Germany, on July 15, 2021. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

BERLIN, Aug 18 (Reuters) - The German cabinet on Wednesday approved a 30 billion euros ($35.16 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 euros, 28 billion will be split 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.

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.

($1 = 0.8532 euros)

Reporting by Christian Kraemer Writing by Paul Carrel Editing by Thomas Escritt

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