Friday, September 30

Drought in Germany exposes century-old “hunger stones”

The severe drought in Germany is exposing the so-called hungersteine (hunger stones) that contain warnings, in some cases centuries old, related to the danger of famine that the low level of the rivers brought in the past.

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“If you see me, cry”, says the inscription on some of the stones that can be seen again and that are part of a tradition that dates back to the fifteenth century. This legend appears, for example, on a stone found in the Elbe River, dating from 1616. In the 19th century, many travellers, in times of drought, recorded the Hungersteine ​​and wrote about them.

The current drought in Germany has brought the level of the rivers to historical lows, with which they have found hungersteine They were completely forgotten. In Saxony (eastern Germany) have been found, according to the newspaper Sachsische Zeitungdozens of them. Normally those who wrote the warning also wrote the date of the drought.

On the Elbe the oldest inscription dates back to 1417. The warning, “If you see me, cry”, has been related to the fact that one of the consequences of the drought was that there were bad harvests, which in turn could lead to drought. in famines.

Several years are recorded in many stones in which the drought caused them to come back to the surface.

Actual problems

Currently, in addition to the threat posed by drought for agriculture, there are also problems for river transport, which, according to the Confederation of German Industry (BDI), is a threat to supply chains, which can affect to all economic activity.

Drought and low river levels represent an ecological threat. The increase in water temperature and the low level of rivers create, according to experts, a toxic combination for fish and other animals.

“We have little water in the Rhine due to the drought. In addition we have high temperatures in the water and the combination of the two factors is somewhat toxic for the inhabitants of the Rhine,” climate expert Karsten Brandt told the magazine. Der Spiegel.

According to Brandt, what is happening is what climate change models have been announcing for years, although for a time there has been hope that Germany and Central Europe would be less affected by the crisis.