Thousands evacuated as daunting floods recovery effort begins – amid fears dam may still be breached
At least 170 people have now died following “historic” flooding across Germany and Belgium – with fears the death toll could keep rising.
The search and rescue operation is continuing as the deadly flood waters recede and debris is cleared.
Days of torrential downpours left rivers severely overflowing, leading to waters surging through streets – lifting up cars, tearing up power lines and collapsing homes and businesses.
At least 143 people have died as a result of the flooding in western Germany, with officials telling the public that the risk is not yet receding with the floodwaters.
In Belgium, where at least 27 people have died, dykes along a river are threatening to collapse.
Large parts of a dam near Cologne in the North Rhine-Westphalia region, which is Germany’s most populous, have broken away and there is “enormous pressure” on the structure because of the high water level, posing “an acute risk” the dam could rupture. More people have been evacuated from the area.
Pictures from across the region – one of the most prosperous in Europe – show homes destroyed and businesses devastated. Astonishing footage from near Frankfurt shows an entire house being carried down the River Ahr.
Sky News visited one area of North Rhine-Westphalia where police are patrolling to ensure people have left their homes amid fears a nearby dam could collapse and consume hundreds of houses.
And officers have also warned people in the Ahrweiler area to be wary of downed power lines, and are asking visitors to stay away as sightseers have blocked roads.
Parts of the town of Erfstadt have been cut off for days, with a huge sinkhole making the rescue operation more difficult.
Residents have been transported out of the area, many left with nothing on the back of flat bed lorries, and have been forced to queue for €200 handouts so they can buy basic amenities.
State minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet, said: “Hundreds of people are willing to drop everything and help us on the ground, so I want to thank all those volunteers. Germany will do everything possible over the next couple of days to organise the funds necessary.”
Meteorologists said some areas of western Europe had received two months’ rain in two days ahead of the floods, with more than 150 litres per square metre falling over 24 hours in parts of western Germany.
Several senior officials have blamed climate change for the disaster.
“Climate change isn’t abstract anymore. We are experiencing it up close and painfully,” said Malu Dreyer, governor of Rhineland-Palatinate state.
She said it showed the need to speed up action on the issue.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also said it showed that decisive action was the only way “to limit the extreme weather conditions we are now experiencing”.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has been in the US but will visit Rhineland-Palatinate – one of the worst affected villages – on Sunday.
Jerusalem: Boy, 13, suspected of ‘terror attack’ hours after gunman killed seven outside synagogue
Two people have been wounded in a suspected terror attack in Jerusalem, hours after a deadly shooting outside a synagogue.
Police say they sent a “large” force to the scene and that a “shooting suspect”, said to be a 13-year-old boy from east Jerusalem, was “wounded and overpowered”.
Officers said a handgun used by the boy, described by police as a “terrorist”, was recovered at the scene.
Two men, aged 23 and 47, and believed to be a father and son, were wounded in the incident. They were both taken to hospital in a “moderate to serious” condition, according to medics.
It comes after a Palestinian gunman shot seven people dead near a synagogue on the outskirts of the city on Friday.
Three others were injured in that shooting, including a 15-year-old boy who was recovering from surgery, hospital officials said.
Police said the gunman arrived at about 8.15pm local time (6.15pm UK time) and described the shooting as a “terror attack”.
They added it took place outside a synagogue in Neve Yaakov, considered by Israelis to be a neighbourhood within Jerusalem.
Palestinians and much of the international community consider it occupied land illegally annexed after the Six-Day War in 1967.
Police said the gunman fled in a car after opening fire and officers gave chase and after an exchange of fire killed him.
He was described as a 21-year-old resident of east Jerusalem who “carried out the attack at the scene alone”.
Israel Police said on Saturday that officers had arrested 42 people – including relatives of the gunman – as part of their investigation.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had held a security assessment and decided on “immediate actions” following Friday’s shooting.
Mr Netanyahu urged people not to take the law into their own hands and said Israel would act with “determination and composure”.
It comes after a deadly raid by the Israeli military on Thursday that killed nine Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. A 10th was later killed north of Jerusalem.
Gaza militants then fired rockets and Israel responded with air strikes overnight. There were no reports of injuries.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “deeply worried” by the escalation of violence and urged “utmost restraint”.
Faction of Tory members feel ‘disconnected’ after being ‘denied a vote’ when Rishi Sunak became PM, ex-party chair says
A proportion of Conservative members feel “disconnected” from the party as they were “denied a vote” when Rishi Sunak became prime minister, a former Tory chairman said.
Sir Jake Berry, who was chair under Liz Truss, said Mr Sunak should have held an “endorsement vote” to show he had the support of the membership.
Instead, Mr Sunak automatically became PM after Boris Johnson and Penny Mordaunt dropped out of the contest to replace Liz Truss and Mr Sunak passed the 100-nomination threshold, leaving him as the only remaining candidate.
As a result, there is a “perception”, Sir Jake said, that Tory MPs are “disconnected from our membership”.
“I actually think it’s a great pity for Rishi Sunak that we didn’t have a vote of members,” Sir Jake told GB News.
“Because in the summer, fine Conservative that he is, he struggled actually to get the support of Conservative Party members – as, funnily enough, did Jeremy Hunt in the previous leadership election.
“And I think even though he absolutely got the majority of the Conservative members of parliament – and I support him as prime minister in everything he does – the challenge he has is, even if it’s not true, there’s a perception of the Conservative Parliamentary Party now being disconnected from our membership.”
Sir Jake added that he thinks Mr Sunak “would have won it well” if a vote had gone to the membership.
But, he said a narrative has been allowed to develop about members being “denied that vote”.
‘War room’ in the dying days of Truss leadership
The former Northern Powerhouse minister revealed what the last days of the Truss premiership were like.
He was part of a “war room” in Number 10, with Ms Truss, ex-chief whip Wendy Morton and former deputy PM Therese Coffey who were all trying to stabilise her leadership after the now-infamous mini-budget.
Just before Ms Truss resigned, Sir Jake said “two of the most senior civil servants in the Treasury” tried to press him on “why there could be no long, protracted leadership election in the Conservative Party”.
“They asked me at the end of it, ‘Do you agree?’,” he said.
“And I said, ‘Well, I hope you don’t mind me saying, I don’t really think it’s any of your business, as civil servants, about how political parties choose their leader’.”
Tyre Nichols: Bodycam footage shows father-of-one calling for his mother as he is beaten by officers before his death
Memphis Police has released bodycam footage showing the moment Tyre Nichols called for his mother as he was beaten by five officers before he died.
The footage shows police beating the 29-year-old for three minutes while screaming profanities at him throughout the attack.
Police have released four separate videos cut into one hour-long clip, including police bodycam footage and footage from a CCTV camera.
Memphis police chief Cerelyn Davis asked for calm before the video footage was made public.
“I expect you to feel what the Nichols family feels,” she said. “I expect you to feel outrage in the disregard of basic human rights.”
Five sacked officers, who are all black, have been charged with second-degree murder and other crimes, including assault, kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression, over Mr Nichols’ death.
In the footage of the attack, one camera shows the initial police stop at an intersection in Memphis, Tennessee.
“I’m going to baton the f*** out of you,” one officer can be heard saying. His body camera shows him raise his baton while at least one other officer holds Mr Nichols.
After the first officer roughly pulls Mr Nichols out of his car, the FedEx worker can be heard saying “I didn’t do anything” as a group of officers begins to wrestle him to the ground.
“Get on the ground!,” one officer yells, as another is heard shouting: “Tase him! Tase him!”
The father-of-one calmly replied soon after being wrestled to the pavement: “OK, I’m on the ground.”
Moments later, as the officers continue to shout, Mr Nichols says: “Man, I am on the ground.”
An officer yells: “Put your hands behind your back before I break your (expletive).”
Moments later an officer shouts: “Put your hands behind your back before I break them.”
“You guys are really doing a lot right now,” Mr Nichols says loudly to the officers. “I’m just trying to go home.”
“Stop, I’m not doing anything,” he yells moments later.
Pepper-sprayed and punched in face
The camera is briefly obscured and then Mr Nichols can be seen running as an officer fires a Taser at him. The officers then start chasing Mr Nichols.
After the beating, officers milled about for several minutes while Mr Nichols lay propped up against the car, then slumped onto the street.
In footage from one of the cameras, Mr Nichols is heard shouting for his mother while police attack him.
Mr Nichols is then pepper-sprayed and punched in the face.
He died on 10 January, three days after the violent arrest.
The five officers who have been charged are named Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr, Emmitt Martin III, Tadarrius Bean and Justin Smith.
Martin’s lawyer, William Massey, and Mills’ lawyer, Blake Ballin, said their clients would plead not guilty. Lawyers for Smith, Bean and Haley could not be reached.
Officers were ‘ramped up’
Ms Davis said the officers were “already ramped up, at about a 10” during the initial stop.
She added the officers were “aggressive, loud, using profane language and probably scared Mr Nichols from the very beginning”.
The senior officer said: “We know something happened prior to this officer or these officers getting out of their vehicles… just knowing the nature of officers, it takes something to get them amped up, you know, like that. We don’t know what happened.
“All we know is the amount of force that was applied in this situation was over the top.”
Ms Davis also described the officers’ actions as “heinous, reckless and inhumane,” and said that her department has been unable to substantiate the reckless driving allegation that prompted the stop.
Tyre Nichols’ final words move us to ask important questions
Sometimes, there are no words.
Articulating the loss of a son can stretch the vocabulary in the best of times.
The family of Tyre Nichols find themselves in the absolute worst.
What words can convey how it feels to have a son, your son, battered to death on camera?
As hard as anyone tried at a news conference inside Mount Olive Cathedral in Memphis, maybe the job was done best by Tyre himself.
At the end of the video, he is heard to call out for his mother, three times.
They are his final words on footage that shows him becoming limp, unconscious and clearly in distress.
He was surrounded by police and other medical specialists who stood back rather than stepped in.
His final words were a plea to someone he knew would help, his mum, who lived three blocks from where he was beaten.
RowVaughn, Tyre’s mother, wasn’t aware of it until it emerged on the video. She only knows now because she’s been told – she can’t bring herself to watch the images.
“You have no clue how I feel,” she told a news conference when asked about her son calling out for her.
And, of course, we don’t.
But we are asked to consider how we would feel – by the sense of helplessness and lack of humanity aggravated by the desperate cry of a grown man to his mother.
It helps an audience empathise, as well as sympathise, and that’s important amidst the demands for change.
The case of Tyre Nichols moves us to ask important questions around police culture in the United States.
Demonstrations in wake of arrest footage
Protests are taking place in at least nine cities across the US – including Memphis – after the bodycam footage was released.
Mr Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, had earlier warned supporters of the “horrific” nature of the video but pleaded for peace saying “tearing up the streets” is “not what my son stood for”.
US President Joe Biden said he was “outraged and deeply pained to see the horrific video of the beating that resulted in Tyre Nichols’ death”
“It is yet another painful reminder of the profound fear and trauma, the pain, and the exhaustion that black and brown Americans experience every single day,” he added.
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