Several people have died during the havoc wreaked during deadly Storm Hewart that has been battering Europe since Sunday
Wild Storm Hewart has battered central Europe, the havoc wreaked has left several people dead and a looming environmental crisis. The main areas affected by the onslaught have been Germany, Czech Republic, and Poland. Hewart’s fierceness has left chaos and devastation in his wake. This comes only three weeks since Storm Xavier killed three Germans.
Hewart is lashing Europeans with wild winds and freezing rains. These gale winds are pulling trees from the earth, the storms leaving most coastal areas entirely flooded. Floodwaters have even partially submerged central Hamburg.
Several lives have been lost
Devastatingly, the storm has claimed around seven lives. Three individuals died in two separate drowning incidents. One middle-aged couple lost control of their boat on the Baltic Coast, and a 63-year-old man succumbed to floodwaters that obliterated his campsite in the North Sea region.
Additionally, a woman from the Czech Republic perished when a tree fell upon her in a forest. Also, just northeast of Prague, another elderly man lost his life when he tried to brave being outdoors. And a Polish driver died after being trapped underneath a fallen tree branch.
Another serious concern is the fate of the bulk carrier Glory Amsterdam which ran aground near the island of Langeoog, off the coast of northern Germany. Luckily, the 22 crew members all survived, however, rescue teams are still yet to reach them.
More concerning though is the risk that the ship will spring a dangerous oil leak
The Glory Amsterdam is carrying 1,800 tons of heavy oil, as well as 140 tons of marine diesel. The World Wildlife Fund has expressed serious concern that the contents of the ship are posing a detrimental risk to a Unesco World Heritage site. The ship’s contents could leak into the Wadden Sea. Indeed, it is high time that heavy oil should be banned globally as a ship fuel.
Mud-flat expert, Hans-Ulrich Rosenberg, made a plea to authorities to move fast to ensure that no leak occurs. “Numerous wading birds, ducks, and geese that are resting there at the moment would be endangered by the oil.”
Meanwhile, everyday life is difficult for European citizens who have borne the brunt of the storm. The severe weather has left many people stranded as rail services, and major roads continue to experience disruptions. Also, the storm has left thousands of Czech citizens without power to their homes or businesses.
Insanely wild winds
To gain an idea of how wild storm Hewart is, winds on the Czech Republic’s highest mountain reached as much as 180 km/h. Planes have struggled to land and take off from international airports. These winds have also damaged a crucial pipeline for liquefied natural gas in Poland. However, according to officials, it was just a minor leak.
Frighteningly, researchers have released a study claiming that these storms in Europe will become 50 times worse by the beginning of the next century. Experts stress that if the human race does not start drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions, wild weather could claim an estimate of 152,000 lives between 2071-2100.
However, David Alexander is a skeptic of the study. Alexander is Professor of risk and disaster reduction at University College London, and he believes the study was too simplistic. “Whether you are in the way or not, does not determine whether (an event) kills you or not. (Vulnerability) is dependent on a whole mass of things.”
Nevertheless, one thing is clear, that humankind needs to start taking responsibility for how it is treating planet earth. Planet earth appears to be responding dramatically to the devastation we have brought upon it.