German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, left and Minister President Anke Rehlinger...

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, left and Minister President Anke Rehlinger speak to local residents as they visit Kleinblittersdorf, Germany, which was hit by flooding, Saturday, May 18, 2024. Scholz has toured flooded regions in the southwest, where rivers have swelled and caused flash floods and landslides after heavy rain and severe weather. Credit: AP/Harald Tittel

BERLIN — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Saturday toured flooded regions in the southwest, where rivers have swelled and caused flash floods and landslides after heavy rain and severe weather.

Scholz canceled his attendance at an election campaign event in Saarland, on the border with France, and instead wore rain boots as he walked on a partially flooded road in the village of Kleinblittersdorf together with regional Gov. Anke Rehlinger.

Emergency services have responded to thousands of requests for help in the state capital of Saarbrücken. Several buildings in the city had to be evacuated as houses and cellars were flooded. Cars were partially submerged and streets filled with water. The city set up alternative accommodation in schools and established a hotline for those affected.

There was no immediate information about the exact scale of the damage. No casualties have been reported.

The Moselle and Bas-Rhin regions of eastern France that border Germany also saw rivers burst their banks, flooded streets and roads severed by floodwaters after heavy rains.

Scholz assured the state of Saarland of the federal government's solidarity. “Unfortunately, it is not the first time that we have to manage a big natural disaster and therefore we will of course look at what needs to be done here now and what is necessary,” he told reporters.

Saarland has already implemented first steps to release financial support, the German news agency dpa reported.

A man makes his way through a flooded road in...

A man makes his way through a flooded road in Lebach, germany, Friday, May 17, 20924. Credit: AP/Harald Tittel

The German weather service in the meantime lifted the weather alert for Germany as rain is expected to ease slowly. Authorities in Saarland said such flash flood only happen every 20 to 50 years.

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