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European “catastrophe” floods take lives, livelihoods and devastate futures

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Parts of Europe are being belted by torrential rainfall that has triggered severe floods

Western Germany and neighboring Belgium are drowning in floodwaters, with 60 so far dead and more than 70 reported missing.

The full extent of the damage across the region is still unclear after many villages remain cut off by floodwater and landslides that have made roads impassable.

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Many of the dead were discovered after floodwaters began to recede again

Belgium has reported nine deaths to the weather disaster so far.

The dead included at least 30 in North Rhine-Westphalia state and 28 in Rhineland-Palatinate state to the south.

Among the worst-hit German villages was Schuld, in the Rhineland-Palatinate district of Ahrweiler, where several homes have collapsed, and debris scattering throughout the community.

A man watches a flooded street following heavy rainfalls in Hagen, Germany, July 14, 2021. REUTERS/Leon Kuegeler

Extensive damage to homes and businesses

According to authorities, dozens more people were trapped on the roofs of their houses awaiting rescue. Authorities used inflatable boats and helicopters, and the German army deployed 200 soldiers to assist in the rescue operations.

Rescue crews continue to be hampered with calls for help, despite phone and internet connections being down in parts of the region.

Chancellor Merkel pledged everything would be done to find those still missing

Around 10 houses have so far collapsed in the town of Pepinster after the local river flooded the eastern Belgian town and residents were evacuated from more than 1,000 properties.

In Belgium, among the nine fatalities were two men who died due to the torrential rain. A 15-year-old girl is missing after being swept away by a swollen river.

“Unprecedented” weather that nobody expected

Weather experts said that rains in the region over the past 24 hours had been unprecedented.

Germany’s Greens political party has blamed the floods on global warming, with its parliamentary leader Katrin Goering-Eckardt telling a local media organisation that “this is already the impact of the climate catastrophe”

Anthony Lucas is reporter, presenter and social media producer with ticker News. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Professional Communication, with a major in Journalism from RMIT University as well as a Diploma of Arts and Entertainment journalism from Collarts. He’s previously worked for 9 News, ONE FM Radio and Southern Cross Austerio’s Hit Radio Network. 

Climate

New report suggests ‘throwaway economy’ thwarting climate goals

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New research shows countries are neglecting the massive impact of the “throw-away” economy on planet-warming emissions

Scientists found that more than half a trillion tonnes of virgin materials have been consumed since the 2015 Paris climate deal.

The Circle Economy report found 70 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions are linked to the manufacturing and use of products.

But the report found that if economies were more circular, then the world could meet the Paris target of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

A third of nations’ climate pledges mention the circular economy as part of their emissions goals, according to the report.

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Climate

Researchers discover why pandas gain weight on bamboo diet

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We’re always told to eat your greens, but this isn’t the case for pandas

A new Study finds exactly how pandas gain weight… even though they only eat bamboo

Pandas eat between 26 to 84 pounds of bamboo each day and It turns out the animals’ gut bacteria changes in the season when nutritious bamboo shoots become available.

“This is the first time we established a causal relationship between a panda’s gut microbiota and its phenotype,” says Guangping Huang, one of the study’s authors.

“We’ve known these pandas have a different set of gut microbiota during the shoot-eating season for a long time, and it’s very obvious that they are chubbier during this time of the year.”

Pandas only consume bamboo, which is a poor quality diet low in fat.

The authors believe the bacterium could lead the bears to store more fat.

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Climate

Historic mission – first spacecraft to touch the sun

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NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has officially become the first spacecraft to touch the sun

This achievement comes 60 years after the space agency set the goal… and three years after the Parker Solar Probe was launched.

The spacecraft flew through the sun’s corona… which is its upper atmosphere… in a bid to “sample particles and our star’s magnetic fields”.

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate says “not only does this milestone provide us with deeper insights into our Sun’s evolution and (its) impacts on our solar system, but everything we learn about our own star also teaches us more about stars in the rest of the universe.”

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