Her husband grabbed his telephone and called for help. “I asked, ‘Honey, who did you phone?’” she said.

“He said, ‘I found Dimitri Hérard; I found Jean Laguel Civil,’” she said, reciting the names of two top officials in charge of presidential security. “And they told me that they are coming.”

But the assassins entered the house swiftly, seemingly unencumbered, she said. Mr. Moïse told his wife to lie down on the floor so she would not get hurt.

“‘That’s where I think you will be safe,’” she recalled him saying.

It was the last thing he told her.

A burst of gunfire came through the room, she said, hitting her first. Struck in the hand and the elbow, she lay still on the floor, convinced that she, and everyone else in her family, had been killed.

None of the assassins spoke Creole or French, she said. The men spoke only Spanish, and communicated with someone on the phone as they searched the room. They seemed to find what they wanted on a shelf where her husband kept his files.

“They were looking for something in the room, and they found it,” Mrs. Moïse said.

She said she did not know what it was.

“At this moment, I felt that I was suffocating because there was blood in my mouth and I couldn’t breathe,” she said. “In my mind, everybody was dead, because if the president could die, everybody else could have died too.”

The men her husband had called for help, she said — the officials entrusted with his security — are now in Haitian custody.

And while she expressed satisfaction that a number of the accused conspirators have been detained, she is by no means satisfied. Mrs. Moïse wants international law enforcement agencies like the F.B.I., which searched homes in Florida this week as part of the investigation, to track the money that financed the killing. The Colombian mercenaries who were arrested, she said, did not come to Haiti to “play hide and seek,” and she wants to know who paid for it all.

In a statement on Friday, the F.B.I. said it “remains committed to working alongside our international partners to administer justice.”

Mrs. Moïse expected the money to trace back to wealthy oligarchs in Haiti, whose livelihoods were disrupted by her husband’s attacks on their lucrative contracts, she said.

Mrs. Moïse cited a powerful Haitian businessman who has wanted to run for president, Reginald Boulos, as someone who had something to gain from her husband’s death, though she stopped short of accusing him of ordering the assassination.

Mr. Boulos and his businesses have been at the center of a barrage of legal cases brought by the Haitian government, which is investigating allegations of a preferential loan obtained from the state pension fund. Mr. Boulos’ bank accounts were frozen before Mr. Moïse’s death, and they were released to him immediately after he died, Mrs. Moïse said.

In an interview, Mr. Boulos said that only his personal accounts, with less than $30,000, had been blocked, and he stressed that a judge had ordered the release of the money this week, after he took the Haitian government to court. He insisted that, far from being involved in the killing, his political career was actually better off with Mr. Moïse alive — because denouncing the president was such a pivotal part of Mr. Boulos’s platform.

“I had absolutely, absolutely, absolutely nothing to do with his murder, even in dreams,” Mr. Boulos said. “I support a strong, independent international investigation to find who came up with the idea, who financed it and who executed it.”

Mrs. Moïse said she wants the killers to know she is not scared of them.

“I would like people who did this to be caught, otherwise they will kill every single president who takes power,” she said. “They did it once. They will do it again.”

She said she is seriously considering a run for the presidency, once she undergoes more surgeries on her wounded arm. She has already had two surgeries, and doctors now plan to implant nerves from her feet in her arm, she said. She may never regain use of her right arm, she said, and can move only two fingers.

“President Jovenel had a vision,” she said, “and we Haitians are not going to let that die.”

Anatoly Kurmanaev and Harold Isaac contributed reporting from Port-au-Prince.

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This Ethiopian Road Is a Lifeline for Millions. Now It’s Blocked.

AFAR, Ethiopia — The road, a 300-mile strip of tarmac that passes through some of the most inhospitable terrain on earth, is the only way into a conflict-torn region where millions of Ethiopians face the threat of mass starvation.

But it is a fragile lifeline, fraught with dangers that have made the route barely passable for aid convoys trying to get humanitarian supplies into the Tigray region, where local fighters have been battling the Ethiopian army for eight months.

the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in a decade.

wrote on Twitter. “People are starving.”

Ethiopian prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, who won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, said last week that his government was providing “unfettered humanitarian access” and committed to “the safe delivery of critical supplies to its people in the Tigray region.”

But Mr. Abiy’s ministers have publicly accused aid workers of helping and even arming the Tigrayan fighters, drawing a robust denial from one U.N. agency. And senior aid officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid jeopardizing their operations, said the government’s stated commitment to enable aid deliveries was belied by its actions on the ground.

Aid workers have been harassed at airports or, in the case of a World Food Program official last weekend, have died inside Tigray for want of immediate medical care.

Tigrayan fighters had marched into the regional capital, Mekelle, hours after beleaguered Ethiopian soldiers quit the city. The city airport was shut, so the only way out of Tigray was on a slow-moving U.N. convoy that took the same desolate route out as the fleeing Ethiopian soldiers.

We drove down a rocky escarpment on a road scarred by tank tracks. As we descended into the plains of Afar, the temperature quickly rose.

publicized the flight but made no mention of the delays or harassment — an omission that privately angered several U.N. officials and other aid workers who said it followed a pattern of U.N. agencies being unwilling to publicly criticize the Ethiopian authorities.

Further complicating the aid effort: The war is now spilling into Afar.

In the past week Tigrayan forces have pushed into the region. In response Mr. Abiy mobilized ethnic militias from other regions to counter the offensive.

Mr. Abiy has also resorted to increasingly inflammatory language — referring to Tigrayan leaders as “cancer” and “weeds” in need of removal — that foreign officials view as a possible tinder for a new wave of ethnic violence across the country.

Ms. Billene, his spokeswoman, dismissed those fears as “alarmist.” The Ethiopian leader had “clearly been referring to a terrorist organization and not the people of Tigray,” she said.

Inside Tigray, the most pressing priority is to reopen the road to Afar.

“This is a desperate, desperate situation,” said Lorraine Sweeney of Support Africa Foundation, a charity that shelters about 100 pregnant women displaced by fighting in the Tigrayan city of Adigrat.

Ms. Sweeney, who is based in Ireland, said she had fielded calls from panicked staff members appealing for help to feed the women, all of whom are at least eight months pregnant.

“It brings me back to famine times in Ireland,” Ms. Sweeney said. “This is crazy stuff in this day and age.”

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Why Tunisia’s Promise of Democracy Struggles to Bear Fruit

GAZIANTEP, Turkey — In the 10 years since its popular uprising set off the Arab Spring, Tunisia has often been praised as the one success story to emerge from that era of turbulence. It rejected extremism and open warfare, it averted a counterrevolution, and its civic leaders even won a Nobel Peace Prize for consensus building.

Yet for all the praise, Tunisia, a small North African country of 11 million, never fixed the serious economic problems that led to the uprising in the first place.

It also never received the full-throated support of Western backers, something that might have helped it make a real transition from the inequity of dictatorship to prosperous democracy, analysts and activists say. Instead, at critical points in Tunisia’s efforts to remake itself, many of its needs were overlooked by the West, for which the fight against Islamist terrorism overshadowed all other priorities.

Now, as Tunisians grapple with their latest upheaval, which began when President Kais Saied dismissed the prime minister and suspended Parliament over the weekend, many seem divided on whether to condemn his actions — or embrace them.

terrorism and the pandemic, Mr. Kaboub said.

overthrew the country’s authoritarian president of 23 years, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

But Western officials were obsessively focused on the Islamists — namely the Ennahda, or Renaissance, party that swept early elections — and where they were going and what they represented.

“In conversations, those sorts of questions ate up almost all the oxygen in the room,” Ms. Marks said. “It was almost impossible to get anybody to ask another question.”

awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015 — to the point that it became a “fetish,” she said.

After the 2011 revolution, Al Qaeda and other extremists were quick to mobilize networks of recruits.

Terrorism burst into the open in 2012 when the U.S. Embassy in Tunis came under attack from a mob. Over the years that followed, extremist cells carried out a string of political assassinations and suicide attacks that shattered Tunisians’ optimism and nearly derailed the democratic transition.

training and assisting Tunisian security forces, and supplying them with military equipment, but so discreetly that the American forces themselves were virtually invisible.

By 2019, some 150 Americans were training and advising their Tunisian counterparts in one of the largest missions of its kind on the African continent, according to American officials. The value of American military supplies delivered to the country increased to $119 million in 2017 from $12 million in 2012, government data show.

The assistance helped Tunisia defeat the broader threat of terrorism, but government ministers noted that the cost of combating terrorism, while unavoidable, burned a larger hole in the national budget.

But it is the structure of the economy that remains the root of the problem, Mr. Kaboub said. All of Tunisia’s political parties have identical economic plans, based on World Bank and International Monetary Fund guidelines. It was the same development platform used by the ousted president, Mr. Ben Ali, Mr. Kaboub said.

“Right now,” he said, “everybody in Tunisia is begging for an I.M.F. loan, and it is going to be seen as the solution to the crisis. But it is really a trap. It’s a Band-Aid — the infection is still there.”

Lilia Blaise contributed reporting from Tunis.

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‘They Have My Sister’: As Uyghurs Speak Out, China Targets Their Families

She was a gifted agricultural scientist educated at prestigious universities in Shanghai and Tokyo. She said she wanted to help farmers in poor areas, like her hometown in Xinjiang, in western China. But because of her uncle’s activism for China’s oppressed Muslim Uyghurs, her family and friends said, the Chinese state made her a security target.

At first they took away her father. Then they pressed her to return home from Japan. Last year, at age 30, Mihriay Erkin, the scientist, died in Xinjiang, under mysterious circumstances.

The government confirmed Ms. Erkin’s death but attributed it to an illness. Her uncle, Abduweli Ayup, the activist, believes she died in state custody.

Mr. Ayup says his niece was only the latest in his family to come under pressure from the authorities. His two siblings had already been detained and imprisoned. All three were targeted in retaliation for his efforts to expose the plight of the Uyghurs, he said.

called a genocide, prompting foreign governments to impose sanctions.

Credit…Abduweli Ayup

Now the Chinese authorities are pushing back against overseas Uyghurs by targeting their relatives.

The Communist Party has long treated the relatives of dissidents as guilty by association and used them to pressure and punish outspoken family members. With the courts under the control of the authorities, there is little recourse to challenge such prosecutions. Liu Xia, the wife of Chinese activist Liu Xiaobo, spent nearly eight years under house arrest after he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. Her younger brother, Liu Hui, served two years in prison for a fraud conviction she called retaliation.

But with the Uyghurs, the authorities seem to be applying this tactic with unusual, and increasing severity, placing some Uyghur activists’ relatives in prison for decades, or longer.

Dolkun Isa, the German-based president of the World Uyghur Congress, a Uyghur rights group, said he believes his older brother is in detention. He learned in late May that his younger brother, Hushtar, had been sentenced to life in prison. “It was connected to my activism, surely,” Mr. Isa said.

Radio Free Asia, a United States-funded broadcaster, says that more than 50 relatives of journalists on staff have been detained in Xinjiang, with some held in detention camps and others sentenced to prison. The journalists all work for the broadcaster’s Uyghur language service, which has in the past several years stood out for its reporting on the crackdown, exposing the existence of camps and publishing the first accounts of deaths and forced sterilizations.

The sister of Rushan Abbas, a Uyghur American activist, was sentenced in December to 20 years in prison for terrorism. The sister, Gulshan Abbas, and her aunt had been detained in 2018, days after Rushan Abbas spoke at an event in Washington denouncing the crackdown and widespread detention in Xinjiang.

use of the Uyghur language. The government regarded even the most moderate expression of ethnic identity as a threat and Mr. Ayup was arrested in 2013 and spent 15 months in prison. After he was released, he fled abroad, but his experience emboldened him to continue campaigning.

a leaked government document outlining how Uyghurs were tracked and chosen for detention.

The circumstances of Ms. Erkin’s death remain unclear.

Radio Free Asia, which cited a national security officer from Ms. Erkin’s hometown as saying she had died while in a detention center in the southern city of Kashgar. Mr. Ayup said he believed it was the same place where he himself had been beaten and sexually abused six years earlier.

Ms. Erkin’s family was given her body, Mr. Ayup said, but were told by security officials to not have guests at her funeral and to tell others she died at home.

In a statement to The New York Times, the Xinjiang government said that Ms. Erkin had returned from overseas in June 2019 to receive medical treatment. On Dec. 19, she died at a hospital in Kashgar of organ failure caused by severe anemia, according to the statement.

From the time she went to the hospital until her death, she had always been looked after by her uncle and younger brother, the government wrote.

Before she returned to China, Ms. Erkin seemed to be aware that her return could end tragically.

“We all leave alone, the only things that can accompany us are the Love of Allah and our smile,” she wrote in text messages to Mr. Ayup when he tried to dissuade her from going home.

“I am very scared,” she admitted. “I hope I would be killed with a single bullet.”

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Return to Office Hits a Snag: Young Resisters

David Gross, an executive at a New York-based advertising agency, convened the troops over Zoom this month to deliver a message he and his fellow partners were eager to share: It was time to think about coming back to the office.

Mr. Gross, 40, wasn’t sure how employees, many in their 20s and early 30s, would take it. The initial response — dead silence — wasn’t encouraging. Then one young man signaled he had a question. “Is the policy mandatory?” he wanted to know.

Yes, it is mandatory, for three days a week, he was told.

Thus began a tricky conversation at Anchor Worldwide, Mr. Gross’s firm, that is being replicated this summer at businesses big and small across the country. While workers of all ages have become accustomed to dialing in and skipping the wearying commute, younger ones have grown especially attached to the new way of doing business.

And in many cases, the decision to return pits older managers who view working in the office as the natural order of things against younger employees who’ve come to see operating remotely as completely normal in the 16 months since the pandemic hit. Some new hires have never gone into their employers’ workplace at all.

banking and finance, are taking a harder line and insisting workers young and old return. The chief executives of Wall Street giants like Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase have signaled they expect employees to go back to their cubicles and offices in the months ahead.

Other companies, most notably those in technology and media, are being more flexible. As much as Mr. Gross wants people back at his ad agency, he is worried about retaining young talent at a time when churn is increasing, so he has been making clear there is room for accommodation.

“We’re in a really progressive industry, and some companies have gone fully remote,” he explained. “You have to frame it in terms of flexibility.”

In a recent survey by the Conference Board, 55 percent of millennials, defined as people born between 1981 and 1996, questioned the wisdom of returning to the office. Among members of Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980, 45 percent had doubts about going back, while only 36 percent of baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, felt that way.

most concerned about their health and psychological well-being,” said Rebecca L. Ray, executive vice president for human capital at the Conference Board. “Companies would be well served to be as flexible as possible.”

Matthew Yeager, 33, quit his job as a web developer at an insurance company in May after it told him he needed to return to the office as vaccination rates in his city, Columbus, Ohio, were rising. He limited his job hunting to opportunities that offered fully remote work and, in June, started at a hiring and human resources company based in New York.

“It was tough because I really liked my job and the people I worked with, but I didn’t want to lose that flexibility of being able to work remotely,” Mr. Yeager said. “The office has all these distractions that are removed when you’re working from home.”

Mr. Yeager said he would also like the option to work remotely in any positions he considered in the future. “More companies should give the opportunity for people to work and be productive in the best way that they can,” he said.

Even as the age split has managers looking for ways to persuade younger hires to venture back, there are other divides. Many parents and other caregivers are concerned about leaving home when school plans are still up in the air, a consideration that has disproportionately affected women during the pandemic.

At the same time, more than a few older workers welcome the flexibility of working from home after years in a cubicle, even as some in their 20s yearn for the camaraderie of the office or the dynamism of an urban setting.

I get to exercise in the morning, have breakfast with my kids, and coach little league in the evenings. Instead of sitting in an office building I get to wear shorts, walk our dog, and have lunch in my own kitchen.” Chad, Evanston, Ill.

  • V.A. issues vaccine mandate for health care workers: “I am a VA physician and strongly support this decision. Believe it or not, I know and work closely alongside several frontline healthcare workers who are not vaccinated for COVID-19, almost all of whom have chosen to avoid the vaccine as a result of misinformation and political rhetoric.” Katie, Portland.
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  • “With the leverage that employees have, and the proof that they can work from home, it’s hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube,” he said.

    Fearful of losing one more junior employee in what has become a tight job market, Mr. Singer has allowed a young colleague to work from home one day a week with an understanding that they would revisit the issue in the future.

    doctrinaire view that folks need to be in the office.”

    Amanda Diaz, 28, feels relieved she doesn’t have to go back to the office, at least for now. She works for the health insurance company Humana in San Juan, P.R., but has been getting the job done in her home in Trujillo Alto, which is about a 40-minute drive from the office.

    Humana offers its employees the option to work from the office or their home, and Ms. Diaz said she would continue to work remotely as long as she had the option.

    “Think about all the time you spend getting ready and commuting to work,” she said. “Instead I’m using those two or so hours to prepare a healthy lunch, exercising or rest.”

    Alexander Fleiss, 38, chief executive of the investment management firm Rebellion Research, said some employees had resisted going back into the office. He hopes peer pressure and the fear of missing out on a promotion for lack of face-to-face interactions entices people back.

    “Those people might lose their jobs because of natural selection,” Mr. Fleiss said. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if workers began suing companies because they felt they had been laid off for refusing to go back to the office.

    Mr. Fleiss also tries to persuade his staff members who are working on projects to come back by focusing on the benefits of face-to-face collaborations, but many employees would still rather stick to Zoom calls.

    “If that’s what they want, that’s what they want,” he said. “You can’t force anyone to do anything these days. You can only urge.”

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    How New Laws Across India Are Seeking to Ban All Interfaith Marriages

    SRINAGAR, Kashmir — Manmeet Kour Bali had to defend her marriage in court.

    A Sikh by birth, Ms. Bali converted to Islam to marry a Muslim man. Her parents objected to a marriage outside their community and filed a police complaint against her new husband.

    In court last month, she testified that she had married for love, not because she was coerced, according to a copy of her statement reviewed by The New York Times. Days later, she ended up in India’s capital of New Delhi, married to a Sikh man.

    Religious diversity has defined India for centuries, recognized and protected in the country’s Constitution. But interfaith unions remain rare, taboo and increasingly illegal.

    A spate of new laws across India, in states ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, or B.J.P., are seeking to banish such unions altogether.

    the idea that Muslim men marry women of other faiths to spread Islam. Critics contend that such laws fan anti-Muslim sentiment under a government promoting a Hindu nationalist agenda.

    Last year, lawmakers in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh passed legislation that makes religious conversion by marriage an offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison. So far, 162 people there have been arrested under the new law, although few have been convicted.

    Yogi Adityanath, a Hindu monk and the top elected official of Uttar Pradesh, said shortly before that state’s Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance was passed.

    Four other states ruled by the B.J.P. have either passed or introduced similar legislation.

    In Kashmir, where Ms. Bali and Mr. Bhat lived, members of the Sikh community have disputed the legitimacy of the marriage, calling it “love jihad.” They are pushing for similar anti-conversion rules.

    interrupted a wedding ceremony in December. The couple were taken into custody, and released the following day when both proved they were Muslim, according to regional police, who blamed “antisocial elements” for spreading false rumors.

    A Pew Research Center study found that most Indians are opposed to anyone, but particularly women, marrying outside their religion. The majority of Indian marriages — four out of five — are arranged.

    The backlash against interfaith marriages is so widespread that in 2018, India’s Supreme Court ordered state authorities to provide security and safe houses to those who wed against the will of their communities.

    In its ruling, the court said outsiders “cannot create a situation whereby such couples are placed in a hostile environment.”

    The country’s constitutional right to privacy has also been interpreted to protect couples from pressure, harassment and violence from families and religious communities.

    Muhabit Khan, a Muslim, and Reema Singh, a Hindu, kept their courtship secret from their families, meeting for years in dark alleyways, abandoned houses and desolate graveyards. Ms. Singh said her father threatened to burn her alive if she stayed with Mr. Khan.

    In 2019, they married in a small ceremony with four guests, thinking their families would eventually accept their decision. They never did, and the couple left the central Indian city of Bhopal to start a new life together in a new city.

    “The hate has triumphed over love in India,” Mr. Khan said, “And it doesn’t seem it will go anywhere soon.”

    In Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh state, the B.J.P.-led government passed a bill in March modeled after the Uttar Pradesh law, stiffening penalties for religious conversion through marriage and making annulments easier to obtain.

    The government is not “averse to love,” said the state’s home minister, Narottam Mishra, “but is against jihad.”

    Members of Kashmir’s Sikh community are using Ms. Bali’s marriage to a Muslim man, Shahid Nazir Bhat, to press for a similar law in Jammu and Kashmir.

    “We immediately need a law banning interfaith marriage here,” said Jagmohan Singh Raina, a Sikh activist based in Srinagar. “It will help save our daughters, both Muslims and Sikhs.”

    At a mosque in northern Kashmir in early June, Ms. Bali, 19, and Mr. Bhat, 29, performed Nikah, a commitment to follow Islamic law during their marriage, according to their notarized marriage agreement.

    Afterward, Ms. Bali returned to her parents’ home, where she said she was repeatedly beaten over the relationship.

    “Now my family is torturing me. If anything happens to me or to my husband, I will kill myself,” she said in a video posted to social media.

    The day after she recorded the video, Ms. Bali left home and reunited with Mr. Bhat.

    Even though a religious ceremony between people of the same faith — as Mr. Bhat and Ms. Bali were after her conversion — is recognized as legally valid, the couple had a civil ceremony and got a marriage license to bolster their legal protections. The marriage agreement noted that the union “has been contracted by the parties against the wish, will and consent of their respective parents.

    “Like thousands of other couples who don’t share same the religious belief but respect each other’s faith, we thought we will create a small world of our own where love will triumph over everything else,” Mr. Bhat said. “But that very religion became the reason of our separation.”

    Ms. Bali’s father filed a police complaint against Mr. Bhat, accusing him of kidnapping his daughter and forcing her to convert.

    On June 24, the couple turned themselves into the police in Srinagar, where both were detained.

    At the court, Ms. Bali recorded her testimony before a judicial magistrate, attesting that it was her will to convert to Islam and marry Mr. Bhat, according to her statement. Outside, her parents and dozens of Sikh protesters protested, demanding that she be returned to them.

    It is unclear how the court ruled. The judicial magistrate declined requests for a transcript or an interview. Her parents declined an interview request.

    The day after the hearing, Manjinder Singh Sirsa, the head of the largest Sikh gurudwara in New Delhi, flew to Srinagar. He picked up Ms. Bali, with her parents, and helped organize her marriage to another man, a Sikh. Following the ceremony, Mr. Sirsa flew with the couple to Delhi.

    “It would be wrong to say that I convinced her,” Mr. Sirsa said in an interview. “If anything adverse was happening, she should have said.”

    A written request for an interview with Ms. Bali was sent via Mr. Sirsa. He said she did not want to talk.

    “She had a real breakdown,” he said, repeating Ms. Bali’s parents’ claims that their daughter was kidnapped and forced to marry Mr. Bhat.

    Mr. Bhat was released from police custody four days after Ms. Bali left for Delhi.

    At his home in Srinagar, he is fighting the kidnapping charges. He said he was preparing a legal battle to win her back, but he feared the Sikh community’s disapproval would make their separation permanent.

    “If she comes back and tells a judge she is happy with that man, I will accept my fate,” he said.

    Sameer Yasir and Iqbal Kirmani reported from Srinagar, Kashmir, and Emily Schmall reported from New Delhi.

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    Low-Wage Workers Now Have Options, Which Could Mean a Raise

    McDonald’s is raising wages at its company-owned restaurants. It is also helping its franchisees hang on to workers with funding for backup child care, elder care and tuition assistance. Pay is up at Chipotle, too, and Papa John’s and many of its franchisees are offering hiring and referral bonuses.

    The reason? “In January, 8 percent of restaurant operators rated recruitment and retention of work force as their top challenge,” Hudson Riehle, senior vice president for research at the National Restaurant Association, said in an email. “By May, that number had risen to 72 percent.”

    Restaurant workers — burger flippers and bussers, cooks and waiters — have emerged from the pandemic recession to find themselves in a position they could not have imagined a couple of years ago: They have options. They can afford to wait for a better deal.

    In the first five months of the year, restaurants put out 61 percent more “workers wanted” posts for waiters and waitresses than they had in the same months of 2018 and 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic shut down bars and restaurants around the country, according to data from Burning Glass, a job market analytics firm.

    replace their face-to-face workers with robots and software. Yet there are signs that the country’s low-wage labor force might be in for more lasting raises.

    Even before the pandemic, wages of less-educated workers were rising at the fastest rate in over a decade, propelled by shrinking unemployment. And after the temporary expansion of unemployment insurance ends, with Covid-19 under control and children back at school, workers may be unwilling to accept the deals they accepted in the past.

    Jed Kolko, chief economist at the job placement site Indeed, pointed to one bit of evidence: the increase in the reservation wage — the lowest wage that workers will accept to take a job.

    According to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the average reservation wage is growing fastest for workers without a college degree, hitting $61,483 in March, 26 percent more than a year earlier. Aside from a dip at the start of the pandemic, it has been rising since November 2017.

    “That suggests it is a deeper trend,” Mr. Kolko noted. “It’s not just about the recovery.”

    Other trends could support higher wages at the bottom. The aging of the population, notably, is shrinking the pool of able-bodied workers and increasing demand for care workers, who toil for low pay but are vital to support a growing cohort of older Americans.

    “There was a work force crisis in the home care industry before Covid,” said Kevin Smith, chief executive of Best of Care in Quincy, Mass., and president of the state industry association. “Covid really laid that bare and exacerbated the crisis.”

    more families turning their backs on nursing homes, which were early hotbeds of coronavirus infections, Mr. Smith said, personal care aides and home health aides are in even shorter supply.

    “The demand for services like ours has never been higher,” he said. “That’s never going back.”

    And some of the changes brought about by the pandemic might create new transition opportunities that are not yet in the Brookings data. The accelerated shift to online shopping may be a dire development for retail workers, but it will probably fuel demand for warehouse workers and delivery truck drivers.

    The coronavirus outbreak induced such an unusual recession that any predictions are risky. And yet, as Ms. Escobari of Brookings pointed out, the recovery may provide rare opportunities for those toiling for low wages.

    “This time, people searching for jobs may have a lot of different options,” she said. “That is not typical.”

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    How China Transformed Into a Prime Cyber Threat to the U.S.

    Nearly a decade ago, the United States began naming and shaming China for an onslaught of online espionage, the bulk of it conducted using low-level phishing emails against American companies for intellectual property theft.

    On Monday, the United States again accused China of cyberattacks. But these attacks were highly aggressive, and they reveal that China has transformed into a far more sophisticated and mature digital adversary than the one that flummoxed U.S. officials a decade ago.

    The Biden administration’s indictment for the cyberattacks, along with interviews with dozens of current and former American officials, shows that China has reorganized its hacking operations in the intervening years. While it once conducted relatively unsophisticated hacks of foreign companies, think tanks and government agencies, China is now perpetrating stealthy, decentralized digital assaults of American companies and interests around the world.

    Hacks that were conducted via sloppily worded spearphishing emails by units of the People’s Liberation Army are now carried out by an elite satellite network of contractors at front companies and universities that work at the direction of China’s Ministry of State Security, according to U.S. officials and the indictment.

    like Microsoft’s Exchange email service and Pulse VPN security devices, which are harder to defend against and allow China’s hackers to operate undetected for longer periods.

    “What we’ve seen over the past two or three years is an upleveling” by China, said George Kurtz, the chief executive of the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike. “They operate more like a professional intelligence service than the smash-and-grab operators we saw in the past.”

    China has long been one of the biggest digital threats to the United States. In a 2009 classified National Intelligence Estimate, a document that represents the consensus of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, China and Russia topped the list of America’s online adversaries. But China was deemed the more immediate threat because of the volume of its industrial trade theft.

    But that threat is even more troubling now because of China’s revamping of its hacking operations. Furthermore, the Biden administration has turned cyberattacks — including ransomware attacks — into a major diplomatic front with superpowers like Russia, and U.S. relations with China have steadily deteriorated over issues including trade and tech supremacy.

    China’s prominence in hacking first came to the fore in 2010 with attacks on Google and RSA, the security company, and again in 2013 with a hack of The New York Times.

    breach of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. In that attack, Chinese hackers made off with sensitive personal information, including more than 20 million fingerprints, for Americans who had been granted a security clearance.

    White House officials soon struck a deal that China would cease its hacking of American companies and interests for its industrial benefit. For 18 months during the Obama administration, security researchers and intelligence officials observed a notable drop in Chinese hacking.

    After President Donald J. Trump took office and accelerated trade conflicts and other tensions with China, the hacking resumed. By 2018, U.S. intelligence officials had noted a shift: People’s Liberation Army hackers had stood down and been replaced by operatives working at the behest of the Ministry of State Security, which handles China’s intelligence, security and secret police.

    Hacks of intellectual property, that benefited China’s economic plans, originated not from the P.L.A. but from a looser network of front companies and contractors, including engineers who worked for some of the country’s leading technology companies, according to intelligence officials and researchers.

    It was unclear how exactly China worked with these loosely affiliated hackers. Some cybersecurity experts speculated that the engineers were paid cash to moonlight for the state, while others said those in the network had no choice but to do whatever the state asked. In 2013, a classified U.S. National Security Agency memo said, “The exact affiliation with Chinese government entities is not known, but their activities indicate a probable intelligence requirement feed from China’s Ministry of State Security.”

    announced a new policy requiring Chinese security researchers to notify the state within two days when they found security holes, such as the “zero-days” that the country relied on in the breach of Microsoft Exchange systems.

    arrested its founder. Two years later, Chinese police announced that they would start enforcing laws banning the “unauthorized disclosure” of vulnerabilities. That same year, Chinese hackers, who were a regular presence at big Western hacking conventions, stopped showing up, on state orders.

    “If they continue to maintain this level of access, with the control that they have, their intelligence community is going to benefit,” Mr. Kurtz said of China. “It’s an arms race in cyber.”

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    Flooding Recedes in Europe, but Death Toll Rises and Questions Mount

    an ambitious proposal to cut carbon emissions, how will those who hope to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel respond?

    If only because of their sheer scale, analysts say, the floods are likely to play a significant role for voters when they go to the polls on Sept 26 to replace Ms. Merkel, who has led the country for 16 years.

    The death toll in Germany climbed to at least 143 on Saturday, while the toll across the border in Belgium stood at 27, its national crisis center said. The count rose most sharply in Germany’s Ahrweiler district in Rhineland-Palatinate State, where the police said that more than 90 people had died. The authorities feared that number could yet grow.

    In Germany, Europe’s largest economy and a country that prides itself on its sense of stability, the chaos wrought by nature was likely to reverberate for months, if not years.

    But on Saturday, residents and rescue workers in flood-hit areas faced the more immediate and daunting task of clearing piles of debris, unclogging roads and salvaging some of the homes that had survived the deluge.

    Hundreds of people remain unaccounted for, but officials have struggled to offer precise numbers.

    Electricity and telephone services remain inaccessible in parts of Germany, and some roads are still impassable. That lack of access may account for the high tallies of those still considered missing. And some of those who are not accounted for could simply be away, on vacation or work assignment. In Belgium, police officers started knocking on doors to try to confirm the whereabouts of residents.

    Still, officials said they expected to find additional victims.

    Extreme downpours like the ones that hit Germany are one of the most visible signs that the climate is changing as a result of global warming from greenhouse gas emissions. Studies have shown a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, generating more rainfall.

    Floods of this size have not been seen in 500 or even 1,000 years, according to meteorologists and German officials.

    Rhineland-Palatinate was one of the two hardest-hit German states in the west, along with North Rhine-Westphalia. The Rhine River flows through the two regions, and the rain fell so rapidly that it engorged even small streams and tributaries not typically considered flood threats.

    North Rhine-

    Westphalia

    Düsseldorf

    Detail area

    Rhineland-

    Palatinate

    Germany’s president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, traveled on Saturday to the town of Erftstadt, southwest of Cologne, where the flooding destroyed homes. Ms. Merkel planned to travel on Sunday to Schuld in Rhineland-Palatinate, which was badly hit, even as all of its 700 residents managed to survive.

    There were scenes of devastation from all around Western Europe, the floods having caused damage from Switzerland to the Netherlands. But Germany was hardest hit.

    Days before roiling waters tore through western Germany, a European weather agency had issued an extreme flood warning, as models showed that storms would send rivers surging to levels that had not been seen in hundreds of years.

    The warnings, however, did little good.

    Though Germany’s flood warning system, a network of sensors that measure river levels, functioned as it was supposed to, state and local officials said the amount of rain was unlike anything they had ever seen, causing even small streams and rivers to flood their banks.

    Survivors and officials said many areas were caught unprepared as normally placid brooks and streams turned into torrents that swept away cars, houses and bridges. About 15,000 police officers, soldiers and emergency service workers have been deployed in Germany to help with the search and rescue.

    Dr. Linda Speight, a hydrometeorologist at the University of Reading in Britain who studies how flooding occurs, blamed poor communication about the high risk posed by the flooding as contributing to the significant loss of life. “There should not have been so many deaths from this event,” she said.

    Residents cleaned up mud and debris in Bad Münstereifel’s town center on Saturday.
    Credit…Gordon Welters for The New York Times

    Residents returning home, only to find their homes no longer there. Roads submerged by landslides. Loved ones still unaccounted for.

    As the weather improved on Saturday and rescue workers searched for missing residents, many people in flood-hit areas of Germany were trying to re-establish some order amid the chaos and destruction.

    Friends and relatives mobilized to help, maneuvering around blocked roads and washed-out bridges. Crushed cars and mounds of ruined goods were carted away, or piled by the side of muddied, cracked roads.

    Many expressed amazement at how so much could have been destroyed so quickly. For Lisa Knopp, 19, who was helping to empty the flood-ruined basement of her grandmother’s home in Sinzig, a small town between the Rhine and Ahr rivers, the scenes of destruction “will stay with me a long time.”

    Kim Falkenstein said her mother lost her home in Ahrweiler, one of the hardest-hit spots. Ms. Falkenstein, who was born in Ahrweiler and now lives in New York, said several friends had also lost their homes, and a classmate had died.

    “I am heartbroken,” she said.

    “Seeing my city being destroyed, people who I am close with losing their existence, and knowing I will never return to something I once called home,” Ms. Falkenstein said, “gives me goose bumps.”

    In a country that is among Europe’s most prosperous, where orderliness is highly prized, many Germans were unnerved by the helplessness wrought by nature.

    Bertrand Adams, a local official in Trier-Ehrang, a town in western Germany, stared in disbelief at the swirling waters only now receding from his community.

    “It is beyond anything that could ever be imagined,” he told ZDF television. “We have a very good flood protection system that we developed only five years ago. We were so certain that nothing can go wrong.”

    Daniela Schmitz, who has a ranch in Erftstadt, a town southwest of Cologne, was relieved that her property was not destroyed by the floods and that her horses had been evacuated. Others, she said, weren’t that fortunate.

    “We were warned early enough — other stables are not doing so well,” she wrote in a WhatsApp message. “Many animals have drowned, entire stalls destroyed, and feed is becoming scarce. The conditions are really catastrophic in many places.”

    On Saturday, German television channels carried wall-to-wall coverage of the flooding, as rescue workers continued searching for those who had been trapped by rising waters, with 143 confirmed dead in Germany and hundreds still missing.

    As the official response picked up speed on Saturday, electricity, water and internet coverage were slowly being restored. Hundreds of police, fire and emergency vehicles crammed the roads into the most afflicted areas of Rhine-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia.

    A man in front of his damaged restaurant in Bad Münstereifel, Germany, on Saturday. The floods revealed deep political divides around how far and fast Germans should go to stem carbon use.the globe’s most ambitious proposals yet to cut carbon emissions, has revealed deep political divides on climate policy.</p>
<p class=“For a long time, chatting about the weather was synonymous with triviality. That’s over now,” Germany’s ARD public television said in its lead editorial on Friday. “The weather is highly political; there is hardly any nonpolitical weather anymore, especially not during an election campaign.”

    The shift in the debate comes as the European Union has announced an ambitious blueprint to make the 27-country bloc carbon-neutral by 2050. No European country may be affected more than Germany, the continent’s largest economy.

    Armin Laschet, 60, the conservative governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, who is looking to succeed Ms. Merkel in the Sept. 26 election, has lauded his regional government for passing legislation on climate change. But critics point to the open-pit soft coal mines operating in his state and his repeated emphasis on the importance of Germany remaining an industrial powerhouse.

    Pressed in a television interview on whether the floods would prompt him to alter his climate policy, Mr. Laschet snapped at the moderator.

    “I am a governor, not an activist,” he said. “Just because we have had a day like this does not mean we change our politics.”

    Yet floods have a history of influencing political campaigns in Germany. In 2002, pictures of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder wading in rubber boots through streets awash in the muddy waters of the swollen Elbe, while his conservative rival remained on vacation, are credited with helping him win the election that year.

    Perhaps wary of that lesson, Annalena Baerbock, the Greens party candidate for chancellor and Mr. Laschet’s strongest rival, cut short her vacation to visit stricken areas in Rhineland-Palatinate on Friday.

    She called for immediate assistance for those affected, but also issued an appeal to better protect “residential areas and infrastructure” from extreme weather events, which she linked to the changing climate.

    Whether the flooding will be enough to lift the party remains to be seen. After the Greens enjoyed an initial surge of excitement — Ms. Baerbock is the only woman running to replace the country’s first female chancellor — support for the party has dipped to around 20 percent in polls.

    That puts the Greens in second place behind Mr. Laschet’s conservatives, who have been climbing to around 30 percent support, the latest surveys show.

    Olaf Scholz, 63, Ms. Merkel’s finance minister who is also running for the chance to replace her and return his Social Democratic Party to the chancellery, headed on Friday to flooded regions in Rhineland-Palatinate, where he pledged swift help from the government and linked the disaster to climate change.

    “I am firmly convinced that our task is stopping human-made climate change,” Mr. Scholz told ZDF public television.

    The Lebenshilfe Haus, where 12 people died.
    Credit…Thomas Frey/DPA, via Associated Press

    They were disabled residents of a care home, the Lebenshilfe Haus, asleep when the waters of the flash flood suddenly rose early Thursday morning. Trapped on the first floor, they drowned before aid could arrive.

    As calamitous floods hit Germany, the deaths of 12 people at a care home in Sinzig, a small town between the Rhine and Ahr rivers, have broken hearts all over the country and demonstrated how tragedy could have been avoided had flood warnings been better heeded.

    “Every person who dies is a tragedy,” said Tabera Irrle, 23, a train driver who came to Sinzig to help with the cleanup. “But this is a special sadness.”

    Neighbors could hear screaming, they said later, but all that emergency workers could do was save the other 24 residents on higher floors some three hours later, bringing them out the windows in small boats. The disabled residents had been under the care of a lone watchman.

    Dominik Gasper, 17, was helping his parents and uncle clean out the mud and ruined belongings of his grandparents’ house near the care home. He knew about the 12 dead, he said.

    “It was so horrible,” he said. “You can’t really understand such a thing.”

    The waters crested in Sinzig at more than 7 meters, about 23 feet, the highest in a century, said Andreas Geron, the mayor. He said emergency workers in fire trucks had tried to warn residents late Wednesday night, but few said they had heard an alarm.

    Two other Sinzig residents died in this town of 20,000, and a newly renovated bridge over the Ahr collapsed.

    Luis Rufino, 50, a lifelong resident of Sinzig, was angry about what happened. He said some of it could have been prevented.

    “Our health system is better than in the U.S., but they are still trying to avoid costs,” he said. “So there was only one guy watching over these poor people, and when the lights went out, they went into a panic, and when the flood came through, they had no chance.”

    Ulrich van Bebber, the chairman of Lebenshilfe, which has operated the care home since it was built 27 years ago, told journalists that “we are all horrified, stunned and infinitely sad.”

    He said those who survived were being cared for. “We want to keep the Lebenshilfe Haus as a residential facility and, if necessary, rebuild it.”

    Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany on a visit to Washington this week.
    Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

    Usually a national leader faced with floods as severe as those in Germany would be expected to break off whatever she was doing and rush to the crisis area.

    But Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany completed an official visit to Washington that ended Friday, and she was not expected to visit the flood zone until Sunday, long after most other German political leaders had come and gone. (Saturday was also her 67th birthday.)

    Ms. Merkel did express from Washington her sympathy to the victims, saying during an appearance with President Biden on Thursday: “My heart goes out to all of those who, in this catastrophe, lost their loved ones or who are still worrying about the fate of people still missing.”

    And hours after touching down in Germany on Friday morning, Ms. Merkel took part in a crisis meeting with leaders of the state of Rhineland Palatinate, where many of the hardest-hit communities are. She also spoke by telephone with Armin Laschet, the leader of North Rhine Westphalia, which also suffered major devastation and loss of life.

    Mr. Laschet — who, like Ms. Merkel, is a member of the conservative Christian Democratic Union party — is the party’s candidate to succeed her after the country holds elections in September.

    So far Ms. Merkel has not faced major criticism for taking several days to see the damage for herself. She has never been one for political theater, and does not need to worry about opinion polls because she is stepping down from politics after the elections.

    Germans also seemed to understand the importance of her trip to Washington — probably her last as chancellor — and meetings with Mr. Biden.

    Germany is anxious to repair its relationship with the United States, a crucial ally and trading partner, after four tense years of dealing with President Donald J. Trump, who treated Germany like a rival and threatened to impose punitive tariffs on German cars. At a news conference with Mr. Biden on Thursday, Ms. Merkel seemed almost buoyant to be dealing with a new administration.

    “We’re not only partners and allies, but we’re very close friends,” she said of Mr. Biden.

    Addressing an underlying cause of Western Europe’s worst floods in centuries, the two leaders signed a pact to take “urgent action to address the climate crisis.”

    “There is a dramatic increase in such unusual weather phenomena, and we have to contend with this,” Ms. Merkel said while standing alongside Mr. Biden.

    Huge cleanup efforts were underway after days of flooding inundated parts of Western Europe this week.

    President Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany, left, and Armin Laschet, governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, speaking with rescue workers in Erftstadt.
    Credit…Marius Becker/EPA, via Shutterstock

    President Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany on Saturday visited the city of Erftstadt, where floods had ripped away homes, setting off a landslide that wrought further destruction.

    An entire stretch of highway remained submerged there on Saturday as fears mounted that people who had tried to flee this week’s torrential rains could have been trapped in their cars by flash flooding — and may still be found when the waters recede.

    Already, at least 43 people are known to have died.

    Mr. Steinmeier, who is seeking a second term in office after his current one ends in February, urged Germans to help in any way they could.

    “Many people in this region have nothing left but hope,” Mr. Steinmeier said. “And we cannot disappoint these hopes.”

    A president’s role in Germany is largely ceremonial, but in times of national tragedy or crisis, the head of state often helps set the tone and serve as a representative of the people.

    Mr. Steinmeier was joined by Armin Laschet, governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, home to Erftstadt, and the leading candidate to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel when Germans vote for a new government in the fall.

    Ms. Merkel planned to travel on Sunday to the town of Schuld (not Stuhr as an earlier version of this item said) in Rhineland-Palatinate.

    The main road in the city center of Bad Münstereifel, in the western state of Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany, on Saturday.
    Credit…Gordon Welters for The New York Times

    Extreme weather disasters across Europe and North America have highlighted two essential facts of science and history: The world as a whole is neither prepared to slow down climate change, nor live with it.

    Some of Europe’s richest countries lay in disarray this weekend, as rivers burst through banks in Germany and Belgium, leaving people shellshocked at the intensity of the destruction.

    Days before in the Northwestern United States, hundreds had died of heat. In Canada, wildfire had burned a village off the map. Moscow reeled from record temperatures. And the northern Rocky Mountains were bracing for another heat wave.

    The events have ravaged some of the world’s wealthiest nations, whose affluence has been enabled by more than a century of burning coal, oil and gas — activities that pumped the greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that are warming the world.

    “I say this as a German: The idea that you could possibly die from weather is completely alien,” said Friederike Otto, a physicist at Oxford University who studies the links between extreme weather and climate change. “There’s not even a realization that adaptation is something we have to do right now. We have to save peoples’ lives.”

    Disasters magnified by global warming have left a trail of death and loss across much of the developing world, wiping out crops in Bangladesh, leveling villages in Honduras and threatening the very existence of small island nations.

    A big question is whether the disasters in the developed world will have a bearing on what the world’s most influential countries and companies will do to reduce their own emissions of planet-warming gases.

    “This tragic event is a reminder that, in the climate emergency, no one is safe,” Mohamed Nasheed, the former president of the Maldives, said in a statement about the flooding.

    Part of the historic center of Prague was underwater in August 2002.
    Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    The floods devastating Europe have killed scores of people, leaving at least 1,300 missing, uprooting families, causing immense financial damage and reducing homes and cars to the state of floating bath toys. But it is not the first time the continent has been buffeted by a deluge.

    Here are some of the other major lethal floods and flooding caused by storms in recent years.

    Credit…Dragan Karadarevic/European Pressphoto Agency

    A 7-year-old boy dead after falling ill in a flooded home in Surrey. A kayaker drowned on a swollen Welsh river. A coastal railroad ripped up by waves in Cornwall.

    In a matter of months in 2014, at least 5,000 houses in Britain were damaged in what was then seen as one of the rainiest seasons in nearly 250 years. While some blamed the flooding on the austerity measures of David Cameron, the prime minister at the time, others pointed to climate change.

    In May of that year, the heaviest rains and floods in 120 years hit Bosnia and Serbia, killing at least 33 people, forcing thousands out of their homes, and cutting off power in 100,000 households in Serbia, as several months’ worth of rainfall fell in a matter of days.

    Credit…Armin Weigel/European Pressphoto Agency

    Germany is no stranger to flooding.

    In Bitterfeld, in eastern Germany, about 10,000 people were asked to leave their homes in June 2013 after a levee on the Mulde River burst, amid some of the worst flooding that some German regions had seen in centuries. More than 600 residents of Dresden were brought to safety as electricity and water services to the city’s affected center were cut off.

    Chancellor Angela Merkel, now tested by the current flooding, showed her mettle at the time, touring three of the hardest-hit areas to wade through ankle-deep floodwaters and visit victims of the flood.

    Credit…Philippe Huguen/Agence France-Presse

    The storm was called Kyrill by German meteorologists, and it spurred unrelenting rain in Britain, Ireland, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

    The howling gale churned through the British Isles and Northern Europe, uprooting trees, shattering windows, flooding beaches and forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights at airports from London to Frankfurt.

    According to the European Environment Agency, Kyrill killed 46 people and resulted in overall losses worth 8 billion euros. At the time, it was one of the most damaging extreme weather episodes ever recorded in Europe.

    The name Kyrill stemmed from a German practice of naming weather systems. Anyone may name one, for a fee, and three siblings had paid to name the system as a 65th birthday gift for their father, not realizing it would grow into a fierce storm.

    Credit…Peter Schneider/Keystone, via Associated Press

    Such was the deluge in Central and Southern Europe in 2005 that in the Alps, military helicopters were deployed to ferry in supplies, evacuate stranded tourists and even stranded cows in mountain pastures threatened by rising water.

    The floods left dozens dead. In Romania, which was badly affected by the flooding, victims were drowned as torrents of water rushed into their homes. Austria, Bulgaria, Germany and Switzerland were also buffeted by the flooding.

    The scenes of devastation were visceral and shocking. The Aare River broke through the windows of a children’s clothes shop in Bern, leaving baby strollers and toys floating in muddy water. Much of the historic old city of Lucerne remained underwater.

    Meanwhile, in southern Poland, rivers broke their banks and at least seven bridges collapsed.

    Credit…Sean Gallup/Getty Images

    In 2002, some of the worst rains since 1890 pelted the Czech Republic, putting part of the historic center of Prague underwater and resulting in 50,000 residents being ordered to evacuate, as rivers swelled by near constant rain.

    The death toll from the floods, which ravaged East and Central Europe, including Germany and Austria, and southern Russia, was more than 110. The flooding caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage.

    The management of the crisis by Germany’s chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, helped propel him to re-election.

    In Austria, the Salzach River burst its banks south of Salzburg and threatened to inundate the city at the height of its famous summer festival, forcing the authorities to close most bridges and major roads.

    Floodwaters rose in Hungary and Germany, and in northern Austria the authorities halted river traffic on parts of the Danube.

    The Ahr river overran its banks in the village of Insul, Germany.
    Credit…Michael Probst/Associated Press

    Was the flooding caused by climate change?

    Tying a single weather event to climate change requires extensive attribution analysis, and that takes time, but scientists know one thing for sure: Warmer air holds more moisture, and that makes it more likely that any given storm will produce more precipitation.

    For every 1 Celsius degree of warming, air can hold 7 percent more moisture.

    On average, the world has warmed by a little more than 1 degree Celsius (about 2 degrees Fahrenheit) since the 19th century, when societies began pumping huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

    “Any storm that comes along now has more moisture to work with,” said Jennifer Francis, a senior scientist with the Woodwell Climate Research Center in Massachusetts. “That’s the straightforward connection to the increased frequency of heavy downpours.”

    And although it is still a subject of debate, some scientists say climate change might be causing storms to linger longer.

    Some studies suggest that rapid warming in the Arctic is affecting the jet stream. One consequence of that, said Hayley Fowler, a professor of climate change impacts at Newcastle University in England, is that the river of wind is weakening and slowing down at certain times during the year, including summer. That, in turn, affects weather systems farther south.

    “That means the storms have to move more slowly,” Dr. Fowler said. The storm that caused the flooding was practically stationary, she noted.

    The combination of more moisture and a stalled storm system means that a lot of rain can fall over a given area.

    Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, one of the primary scientists with World Weather Attribution, a group that quickly analyzes extreme weather events to see whether they were made more likely by climate change, said the group was discussing whether to study the German floods.

    Beyond the speed of a weather system and its moisture content, there are many factors that affect flooding that can make an analysis difficult. Local topography has to be taken into account, as that can affect how much runoff gets into which rivers.

    Human impacts can complicate the analysis even further. Development near rivers can make runoff worse by reducing the amount of open land that can absorb rain. And infrastructure built to cope with heavy runoff and rising rivers may be under-designed and inadequate.

    Watching the high water in Roermond, the Netherlands, on Friday.
    Credit…Vincent Jannink/EPA, via Shutterstock

    While some development in cities and elsewhere can make flooding worse, other projects can reduce flooding. That appears to have been the case in the Netherlands, which was not as severely affected as neighboring Germany by this week’s storm.

    After several major floods on the Meuse River in the 1990s, the Dutch government began a program called Room for the River to reduce flooding, said Nathalie Asselman, who advises the government and other clients on flood risk.

    The work involved lowering and widening river beds, lowering flood plains and excavating side channels.

    “The aim of these measures is to lower flood levels,” she said.

    Taming water in the Netherlands, a waterlogged country, has been a matter of survival for centuries, and the imperative to keep levels under control is inextricably bound up with Dutch identity. Much of the country sits below sea level and is gradually sinking. Climate change has also exacerbated the twin threats of storms and rising tides.

    While a dike near the Meuse in southern Netherlands suffered a breach that caused some flooding until it was repaired on Friday, the measures appear to have worked.

    The breach, in the dike along the Juliana Canal in the southern Netherlands, was closed by the Dutch military by dumping hundreds of sandbags into the growing hole. Hours before, thousands had been told to evacuate after the dike was breached along the canal, a 22-mile waterway that regulates the Meuse River.

    The river’s water level is at heights not witnessed since 1911, the Dutch national broadcaster NOS reported. Yet water levels on the Meuse were about a foot lower than would have been the case without the flood-reduction measures, Ms. Asselman said. That meant that smaller tributaries backed up less where they met the Meuse, producing less flooding.

    “If we wouldn’t have implemented these measures, then the situation would have been worse,” she said. “Both on the main river and the tributaries.”

    Oliver Henry, a firefighter with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, after helping extinguish a small fire in Mattawa, Wash., last month.
    Credit…Grant Hindsley for The New York Times

    An increasingly hot, dry and deadly summer has gripped much of the Western United States, with heat claiming lives in the Pacific Northwest and Canada in record numbers, and a deepening drought threatening water supplies — all of which is setting the stage for another potentially catastrophic fire season in California and neighboring states.

    A fourth major heat wave was forecast to roast parts of the region again this weekend. It comes two weeks after a record-shattering spate of high temperatures — which scientists said would been virtually impossible without climate change — killed hundreds of people in the United States and Canada.

    A week ago, Death Valley hit a 130-degree high, matching a reading from last year that may be the highest reliably recorded temperature on earth. Also this past weekend, Las Vegas tied its record high, 117 degrees, and Grand Junction, Colo., topped its previous record, hitting 107 degrees.

    At least 67 weather stations from Washington State through New Mexico have recorded their hottest temperatures ever this summer, the National Weather Service said this week. Those records stretched back at least 75 years.

    The heat helped drive the rapid growth of a wildfire in southern Oregon, known as the Bootleg Fire, that has burned more than 240,000 acres — about a third the size of Rhode Island, America’s smallest state. The fire, the largest of dozens across the West, has destroyed about two dozen homes, threatens 1,900 more and has set off a wave of evacuations.

    The fire also burned across a power line corridor that serves as a major contributor to the electrical grid in California, where officials have issued warnings this week asking residents to conserve power by turning up their thermostats and turning off appliances, or risk rolling blackouts.

    One part of the West saw some relief from the crushing heat this week, as monsoon rains fell on the Southwest, including New Mexico and Arizona. But the result was yet another disaster: flash flooding that left some city streets in Arizona awash in muddy water and propelled a torrent of water through part of the Grand Canyon, washing away a camp where about 30 people on a rafting trip were spending the night, killing one.

    As the Earth warms from climate change, heat waves are becoming hotter and more frequent. “And as bad as it might seem today,” Jonathan Overpeck, a climate scientist at the University of Michigan, recently told The New York Times, “this is about as good as it’s going to get if we don’t get global warming under control.”

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    Live Updates: Europe Flooding Death Toll Passes 125, and Scientists See the Fingerprints of Climate Change

    devastation from the floods came from all around Western Europe as the death toll passed 125 on Friday, with another 1,300 people still missing. Roads buckled and washed away. Cars piled atop one another. Houses were inundated to the roof tiles. Frightened residents were being evacuated in the shovels of earth movers.

    But nowhere was affected more than Germany, where hundreds were still unaccounted for and the death toll had reached 106 and was expected to rise as rescue workers combed through the debris. At least 20 were reported dead in Belgium.

    A European weather agency had issued an “extreme” flood warning after detailed models showed storms that threatened to send rivers surging to levels that a German meteorologist said on Friday had not been seen in 500 or even 1,000 years.

    German officials said Friday their warning system, which includes a network of sensors that measure river levels in real time, functioned as it was supposed to. The problem, they said, was an amount of rain they had never seen before — falling so rapidly that it engorged even small streams and rivers not normally considered threats.

    Extreme downpours like the ones that occurred in Germany are among the most visible and damaging signs that the climate is changing as a result of warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Studies have found that they are now occurring more frequently, and scientists point to a simple reason: A warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, which creates extreme rainfall.

    In Central Europe rescue efforts were hampered, with electricity and communications networks down, roads and bridges washed out, and drinking water scarce. The worst hit were thinly populated, rural areas.

    In the city of Schleitheim, Switzerland, where a river burst its banks, residents recorded videos of cars being washed through the streets in a swirling flood of muddy water and debris.

    Germans struggled even to grasp the scale of the calamity in their country. Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her shock and solidarity from Washington, where she was visiting the White House. Politicians of all stripes called for a truce in the German election campaign. The focus was on how to deal with a disaster that was growing by the hour, with thousands left homeless, in addition to the missing.

    In Belgium, the Meuse river overflowed its banks, flooding villages and the center of Liège, leaving thousands without power. The official death toll stands at 20 dead and 20 missing, the authorities said.

    “We are still waiting for the final assessment, but these floods could have been the most disastrous that our country has ever known,” Alexander De Croo, Belgium’s prime minister said on Friday.

    Relatives of those missing grappled with the fear of the unknown. The authorities in the Ahrweiler district of Rhineland-Palatinate said late Thursday that 1,300 people remained unaccounted for in their region, where the Ahr river swelled to an angry torrent late Wednesday, ripping through the towns and villages that hugged its banks.

    North Rhine-

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    One of the places in Germany hardest hit by the flooding was tiny Schuld, where the destruction arrived with remarkable speed in the once-tidy village. After the river swelled, vehicles bobbed like bath toys, six houses collapsed and half of those that remained standing had gaping holes torn by floating debris.

    “It went so fast. You tried to do something, and it was already too late,” a resident of Schuld told Germany’s ARD public television.

    At least 50 people were confirmed dead in the Ahrweiler district, where torrents of water rushed through towns and villages, washing away cars, homes and businesses.

    In Sinzig, a town in the district, efforts to evacuate a care home for people with severe disabilities came just moments before the gushing waters swept through the lower levels, killing 12 of the residents.

    A church and cemetery after flooding in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany.
    Credit…Friedemann Vogel/EPA, via Shutterstock

    BERLIN — Days before roiling waters tore through western Germany, a European weather agency issued an “extreme” flood warning after detailed models showed storms that threatened to send rivers surging to levels that a German meteorologist said on Friday had not been seen in 500 or even 1,000 years.

    By Friday those predictions proved devastatingly accurate, with at least 125 people dead and 1,300 unaccounted for, as helicopter rescue crews plucked marooned residents from villages inundated sometimes within minutes, raising questions about lapses in Germany’s elaborate flood warning system.

    Numerous areas, victims and officials said, were caught unprepared when normally placid brooks and streams turned into torrents that swept away cars, houses and bridges and everything else in their paths.

    “It went so fast. You tried to do something, and it was already too late,” a resident of Schuld told Germany’s ARD public television, after the Ahr River swelled its banks, ripping apart tidy wood-framed houses and sending vehicles bobbing like bath toys.

    Extreme downpours like the ones that occurred in Germany are one of the most visible signs that the climate is changing as a result of warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Studies have shown a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, generating more, and more powerful, rainfall.

    The floods that cut a wide path of destruction this week through Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands were bigger than any on record, according to meteorologists and German officials.

    German officials said Friday their warning system, which includes a network of sensors that measure river levels in real time, functioned as it was supposed to. The problem, they said, was an amount of rain they had never seen before — falling so rapidly that it engorged even small streams and rivers not normally considered threats.

    To describe the events of recent days as a 100-year flood would be an understatement, said Uwe Kirsche, a spokesman for the German Weather Service.

    “With these small rivers, they have never experienced anything like that,” Mr. Kirsche said. “Nobody could prepare because no one expected something like this.”

    On Tuesday, Felix Dietsch, a meteorologist for the German Weather Service, went on YouTube to warn that some areas of southwest Germany could receive previously unimaginable volumes of rain.

    The weather service, a government agency, assigned its most extreme storm warning, code purple, to the Eifel and Mosel regions, one of numerous government warnings issued on Twitter and other media earlier this week and transmitted to state and local officials.

    But the waters rose so swiftly that some communities’ response plans were insufficient while others were caught off guard entirely.

    Medard Roth, the mayor of Kordel, in the hard-hit state of Rhineland-Palatinate, said that he activated his town’s emergency flood response once Kyll River approached dangerous water levels. But the waters rose too rapidly to be held back by the usual measures.

    “By 6 p.m., everything was already under water,” Mr. Roth told Bild, a German newspaper. “Nobody could have predicted that.”

    Ursula Heinen-Esser, the environment minister for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, said on Friday that floodwaters had reached “levels never before recorded.”

    The German flood warning system leaves it up to local officials to decide what action to take, on the theory that they are best informed about local terrain and what people or property lies in the path of an overflowing river.

    In the Ahrweiler district of neighboring Rhineland-Palatinate, regional officials issued their first warning to residents living near the banks of the river as it approached its record level of 3 meters, or nearly 10 feet. Three hours later, a state of emergency was declared.

    By that time, many people had fled to the upper levels of their homes, and those who could not move fast enough died, including 12 handicapped people in an assisted living home in Sinzig.

    “The warnings arrived,” Mr. Kirsche of the German Weather Service said. “But the question is why didn’t evacuations take place sooner? That’s something we have to think about.”

    The bridge over the Ahr River in Müsch was destroyed in this week’s flooding.
    Credit…Steven Erlanger/The New York Times

    MÜSCH, Germany — The bridge that spans the River Ahr washed away last night at around 10:00, said Michael Stoffels, 32, whose own house got flooded by about 12 feet of water.

    Müsch, a village of 220 people at the junction of the Ahr and Trierbach rivers, was clobbered by the flash floods that have inundated this part of Germany. Only one person has died, but Müsch on Friday evening was without electricity, running water or cellphone coverage.

    Residents and their friends were trying to clean up their battered homes, cracked streets and ruined cars. Local firefighters, like Nils Rademacher, 21, were managing the traffic of bulldozers, small trucks and backhoes, while instructing drivers that roads farther into the river valley were blocked with trees or made impassable by fallen bridges.

    “A lot of good cars crashed or got crushed,’’ said Maria Vazquez, who works in a nearby auto repair shop. “I work with cars, so that’s sad, but I just hope that all the people are OK.”

    The water rose to flood the village in less than two hours on Wednesday, and came halfway up the houses, Ms. Vazquez said.

    The riverbanks were scenes of devastation, with crushed cars and thick tree stumps, while many of the cobbled streets were covered with mud and debris. Truckloads of broken furniture, tree branches and chunks of stone were being driven slowly over downed power lines.

    The yellow road sign that tells drivers that they have entered Müsch was pulled out of the ground, laying bent and nearly adrift in the Trierbach River.

    Mr. Stoffels said that he had no warning from the government, but that he rushed home from the retail store he manages nearby when a neighbor called. He was lucky, he said, since he has storage on the ground level and his living area is above that. The children’s playground next to his home, along the Ahr, was shattered, as was the main village electrical station, even before the bridge washed away.

    He and his brother, who traveled 100 miles to help, and his friends, all wearing boots and muddy clothes, were trying to clean up as best they could. It helped, he said, that Müsch, in the Ahrweiler District of Rhineland-Palatinate close to the border with North Rhine-Westphalia, is farming country.

    “Nearly everyone has a small tractor or a bulldozer of some kind,’’ he said. And it was true — the local firefighters were there, but there was little government presence, residents said. On Thursday, Mr. Stoffels said, “a couple of soldiers came for a time and a policeman looked around.”

    Not far away, larger villages and towns were devastated, and more than 1,000 people are reported missing by the authorities.

    Roger Lewentz, Rhineland-Palatinate’s interior minister, was unable to give an exact number of missing in his state.

    “We do not yet know for sure whether some of them may be on vacation or simply unavailable. After all, the power and telephone connections are down in many affected locations,” he told Der Spiegel.

    “There haven’t been floods like this here in 100 years,’’ said Sebastian Stich, 28, an office worker from nearby Barweiler who came to help his neighbors. “The bridges, the power, it’s all gone.’’

    Part of the historic center of Prague, Czech Republic, was underwater in August 2002.
    Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    The floods devastating Europe have killed scores of people, leaving at least 1,300 missing, uprooting families, causing massive financial damage and reducing homes and cars to the state of floating bath toys. But it is not the first time the continent has been buffeted by a deluge. Here are some of the other major lethal floods and flooding caused by storms in recent years:

    Credit…Dragan Karadarevic/European Pressphoto Agency

    A 7-year-old boy dead after falling ill in a flooded home in Surrey. A kayaker drowned on a swollen Welsh river. A coastal railroad ripped up by waves in Cornwall. In a matter of months in 2014, at least 5,000 houses in Britain were damaged in what was then seen as one of the rainiest seasons in nearly 250 years. While some blamed the flooding on the austerity measures of David Cameron, the prime minister at the time, others pointed to climate change. In May of that same year, the heaviest rains and floods in 120 years hit Bosnia and Serbia, killing at least 33 people, forcing thousands out of their homes, and cutting off power in 100,000 households in Serbia, as several months’ worth of rainfall fell in a matter of days.

    Credit…Armin Weigel/European Pressphoto Agency

    Germany is no stranger to flooding. In Bitterfeld, in eastern Germany, some 10,000 people were asked to leave their homes in June 2013 after a levee on the Mulde River burst, amid some of the worst flooding that some German regions had seen in centuries. More than 600 residents of Dresden were brought to safety as electricity and water services to the city’s affected center were cut off. Chancellor Angela Merkel, now tested by the current flooding, showed her mettle at the time, touring three of the hardest hit areas to wade through ankle-deep floodwaters and visit victims of the flood.

    Credit…Philippe Huguen/Agence France-Presse

    The storm was called Kyrill by German meteorologists, and it spurred unrelenting rain in Britain, Ireland, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. The howling gale churned through the British Isles and Northern Europe, uprooting trees, shattering windows, flooding beaches and forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights at airports from London to Frankfurt. According to the European Environment Agency, Kyrill killed 46 people and resulted in overall losses worth 8 billion euros. At the time, it was one of the most damaging extreme weather episodes ever recorded in Europe. The name Kyrill stemmed from a German practice of naming weather systems. Anyone may name one, for a fee, and three siblings had paid to name the system as a 65th birthday gift for their father, not realizing it would grow into a fierce storm.

    Credit…Peter Schneider/Keystone, via Associated Press

    Such was the deluge in Central and Southern Europe in 2005 that in the Alps, military helicopters were deployed to ferry in supplies, evacuate stranded tourists and even stranded cows in mountain pastures threatened by rising water. The floods left dozens dead. In Romania, which was badly affected by the flooding, victims were drowned as torrents of water rushed into their homes. Austria, Bulgaria, Germany and Switzerland were also buffeted by the flooding. The scenes of devastation were visceral and shocking. The Aare River broke through the windows of a children’s clothes shop in Bern, leaving baby strollers and toys floating in muddy water. Much of the historic old city of Lucerne remained underwater. Meanwhile, in southern Poland, rivers broke their banks and at least seven bridges collapsed.

    Credit…Sean Gallup/Getty Images

    In 2002, some of the worst rains since 1890 pelted the Czech Republic, putting part of the historic center of Prague underwater and resulting in 50,000 residents being ordered to evacuate, as rivers swelled by near constant rain. The death toll from the floods, which ravaged East and Central Europe, including Germany and Austria, and southern Russia, was more than 110. The flooding caused billions of dollars worth of damage. The floods helped propel Germany’s chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, to re-election because of his management of the crisis. In Austria, the Salzach River burst its banks south of Salzburg and threatened to inundate the city at the height of its famous summer festival, forcing the authorities to close most bridges and major roads. Floodwaters rose in Hungary and Germany, and in northern Austria the authorities halted river traffic on parts of the Danube.

    The Ahr river overran its banks in the village of Insul, Germany. 
    Credit…Michael Probst/Associated Press

    Was the flooding caused by climate change?

    Tying a single weather event to climate change requires extensive attribution analysis, and that takes time, but scientists know one thing for sure: Warmer air holds more moisture, and that makes it more likely that any given storm will produce more precipitation.

    For every 1 Celsius degree of warming, in fact, air can hold 7 percent more moisture.

    On average, the world has warmed by a little more than 1 degree Celsius (about 2 degrees Fahrenheit) since the 19th century, when societies began pumping huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

    “Any storm that comes along now has more moisture to work with,” said Jennifer Francis, a senior scientist with the Woodwell Climate Research Center in Massachusetts. “That’s the straightforward connection to the increased frequency of heavy downpours.”

    And, although it is still a subject of debate, some scientists say climate change might be causing storms to linger longer.

    Some studies suggest that rapid warming in the Arctic is affecting the jet stream. One consequence of that, said Hayley Fowler, a professor of climate change impacts at Newcastle University in England, is that the river of wind is weakening and slowing down at certain times during the year, including summer. And that, in turn, affects weather systems farther south.

    “That means the storms have to move more slowly,” Dr. Fowler said. The storm that caused the flooding was practically stationary, she noted.

    The combination of more moisture and a stalled storm system means a lot of rain can fall over a given area.

    Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, one of the primary scientists with World Weather Attribution, a group that quickly analyzes specific extreme weather events to see whether they were made more likely, or not, by climate change, said the group was discussing whether they would study the German floods.

    Beyond the speed of a weather system and its moisture content, there are many factors that affect flooding that can make an analysis difficult. Local topography has to be taken into account, as that can affect how much runoff gets into which rivers.

    Human impacts can complicate the analysis even further. Development near rivers, for instance, can make runoff worse by reducing the amount of open land that can absorb rain. Infrastructure built to cope with heavy runoff and rising rivers may be under-designed and inadequate.

    Oliver Henry, a firefighter with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, after helping extinguish a small fire in Mattawa, Wash., last month.
    Credit…Grant Hindsley for The New York Times

    An increasingly hot, dry and deadly summer has gripped much of the Western United States, with heat claiming lives in the Pacific Northwest and Canada in record numbers, and a deepening drought threatening water supplies — all of which is setting the stage for another potentially catastrophic fire season in California and neighboring states.

    A fourth major heat wave was forecast to roast parts of the region again this weekend. It comes two weeks after a record-shattering spate of high temperatures — which scientists said would been virtually impossible without climate change — killed hundreds of people in the United States and Canada.

    A week ago, Death Valley hit a 130-degree high, matching a reading from last year that may be the highest reliably recorded temperature on earth. Also this past weekend, Las Vegas tied its record high, 117 degrees, and Grand Junction, Colo., topped its previous record, hitting 107 degrees.

    At least 67 weather stations from Washington State through New Mexico have recorded their hottest temperatures ever this summer, the National Weather Service said this week. Those records stretched back at least 75 years.

    The heat helped drive the rapid growth of a wildfire in southern Oregon, known as the Bootleg Fire, that has burned more than 240,000 acres — about a third the size of Rhode Island, America’s smallest state. The fire, the largest of dozens across the West, has destroyed about two dozen homes, threatens 1,900 more and has set off a wave of evacuations.

    The fire also burned across a power line corridor that serves as a major contributor to the electrical grid in California, where officials have issued warnings this week asking residents to conserve power by turning up their thermostats and turning off appliances, or risk rolling blackouts.

    One part of the West saw some relief from the crushing heat this week, as monsoon rains fell on the Southwest, including New Mexico and Arizona. But the result was yet another disaster: flash flooding that left some city streets in Arizona awash in muddy water and propelled a torrent of water through part of the Grand Canyon, washing away a camp where about 30 people on a rafting trip were spending the night, killing one.

    As the Earth warms from climate change, heat waves are becoming hotter and more frequent. “And as bad as it might seem today,” Jonathan Overpeck, a climate scientist at the University of Michigan, recently told The New York Times, “this is about as good as it’s going to get if we don’t get global warming under control.”

    The overflowing Meuse River near Aasterberg, the Netherlands, on Friday.
    Credit…Sem Van Der Wal/EPA, via Shutterstock

    A breach in the dike along the Juliana Canal in the southern Netherlands on Friday was closed by the Dutch military by dumping hundreds of sandbags into the growing hole. Hours before, thousands had been told to evacuate after the dike was breached along the canal, a 22-mile waterway that regulates the Meuse River.

    The river’s water level is at heights not witnessed since 1911, the Dutch national broadcaster NOS reported.

    That is no small thing is a water-logged country where taming water has been a matter of survival for centuries and the imperative to keep levels under control is inextricably bound up with Dutch identity. Much of the country sits below sea level and is gradually sinking. Climate change has also exacerbated the twin threats of storms and rising tides.

    Residents of the villages of Brommelen, Bunde, Geulle and Voulwames were ordered to evacuate immediately, after initially being told to move to higher floors in their homes. About 10,000 people live in the area.

    The local authorities said there was “a large hole” in the dike, prompting fears that the entire area would be flooded. While parts of the area were flooded, a disaster was averted after the breach was closed. NOS said the dike was still unstable and continued to be monitored.

    Upriver, near the city of Venlo, evacuations were ordered for whole neighborhoods and surrounding villages, in total 10,700 people and 7,100 houses, the municipality said in a tweet. People have until 6 p.m. local time to leave their homes.

    Record water levels are moving through the Meuse River, prompting evacuations and fresh inspections of dikes along the river that empties into the North Sea. The river is a key waterway for European shipping connections.

    Following flooding in recent decades, the Dutch authorities have designated special areas that can be flooded with excess water when critical levels are reached.

    The Netherlands has so far been spared much of the death and destruction that this week’s flooding has caused in Germany and Belgium. But in Valkenburg, a city in the south of the Netherlands with about 16,000 residents, damage was severe. Hundreds of houses were without power, and the center of the city was flooded.

    “The damage is incalculable,” Mayor Daan Prevoo of Valkenburg told the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper. He predicted that repairs would take weeks.

    Rowing a boat down a flooded residential street in Angleur, on the outskirts of Liège, Belgium, on Friday.
    Credit…Valentin Bianchi/Associated Press

    In Liège, Belgium’s third-largest city, much of the early panic eased on Friday as residents said the waters of the Meuse river seemed to recede, at least a bit.

    Fears that a major dam might break led the mayor to call for parts of the city to be evacuated late Thursday. But on Friday, people were allowed back, though they were told to stay away from the river, which was still lapping over its banks.

    “The situation is now under control, and people can return to their homes,” Laurence Comminette, the spokeswoman for the mayor, said in an interview. “Of course not everyone can go back, because many homes have been destroyed. But there is no longer an imminent danger of more flooding.”

    Georges Lousberg, 78, said he thought the crisis was largely over in the city. “It did not rain much today, and the weather is supposed to be better the rest of the week.”

    He said there had been times when the Meuse was even higher, especially before walls were built along its banks. “The worst flooding was in 1926,” he said.

    Prasanta Char, 34, a postdoctoral student in physics at the University of Liège, said he had been anxious about rain overnight after the mayor’s evacuation call.

    He had gone looking to buy water, but had a hard time because so many stores were closed. He finally found a small convenience store in the shuttered city.

    “It’s much worse in Germany, and a lot of the roads are shut and the trains are stopped,” he said, “I’m still a bit anxious about rain, but today it seems better.”

    A resident cleaning the streets of Ahrweiler-Bad Neenah, Germany, after flooding on Thursday.
    Credit…Christof Stache/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    Forecasts predicting improved weather for Western Europe over the weekend offered some hope amid the deluge, potentially aiding search-and-rescue efforts in areas devastated by floods.

    The heavy rain in Germany in the Ahrweiler district of Rhineland-Palatinate was forecast to let up later Friday and over the weekend, after flooding left 1,300 people unaccounted for in the region. Emergency workers put sandbags in place to stem the rising waters in the region’s remote villages, like Schuld, where heavy flows of water washed away six homes and left more close to collapse.

    On Saturday and Sunday, there is about a 20 percent chance of rain in that area, and temperatures are expected to rise above 70 degrees Fahrenheit with partial sunshine later in the day, according to Weather.com. Conditions are likewise expected to improve in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, also in western Germany, where at least 43 people have died in the flooding.

    Andreas Friedrich, a meteorologist for Germany’s national weather service, said that dry, sunny weather was likely over the next few days in the western states hit by floods. The weather service has issued a warning about possible floods in the touristy area of southeastern Germany, north of the Alps, over the weekend, but conditions are not expected to be as bad as they were in the western part of the country, he said.

    In Belgium, the weather is also expected to clear up over the weekend. The Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium forecast only light rain in the hilly Ardennes region, which experienced heavy flooding over the past few days. In Liège, which was also hard hit, there was a 3 percent chance of precipitation on Saturday, according to the AccuWeather forecasting service.

    Alex Dewalque, a spokesman for the meteorological institute, said water levels in the worst-hit parts of Belgium were already falling, making it easier for emergency workers to rescue stranded people and search for casualties. He said the coming days would be much drier and with warmer temperatures, and that there were no flood warnings.

    More rain was expected in Switzerland’s northern Alps on Friday, however, and officials warned of more potential flooding in parts of the country. Lake Lucerne reached critical levels, forcing the closing of some bridges and roadways.

    Sarah Schöpfer, a meteorologist at Switzerland’s Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss, said she expected rainfall over the affected areas of Switzerland to lighten.

    “We expect that tonight the precipitation activity weakens further and tomorrow it mainly affects the eastern Swiss Alps (mainly regions that did not get the highest amounts of rain during the last few days),” she said in an email. “So apart from the last showers today and tomorrow, the following days will be dry.”

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