Centuries-old warnings emerge from riverbed as Europe faces historic drought

Water levels in rivers across Europe have been falling amid historic droughts, revealing “hunger stones” engraved with warnings of centuries of drought and hardship.

Water levels in rivers across Europe have been falling amid historic droughts, revealing “hunger stones” engraved with warnings of centuries of drought and hardship.


Water levels in major rivers across Europe have dropped as the region faces a historic drought. In those dry riverbeds, centuries-old warning messages have emerged, locals report.

“Terrible” stones “known as”Hungerstein,” or “Hunger Stones,” local German reporter Olaf Kons said in an Aug. 11 tweet.

One of these is embedded in stone Elbe Riverwhich runs from the mountains of Czechia through Germany to the North Sea, POLITICO journalist Aitor Hernández-Morales tweeted the same day.

Hernández-Morales said the stone, dating back to the 1616 drought, reappears in a dry river bed. The warning read, “Wen du mich seehust, dan wein” – “Cry if you see me.”

Hungry stones“Used as a “hydrological landmark” in Central Europe, NPR reported that the stones were last exposed during the 2018 drought.

These stones are “lost to history by years of toil and the initials of the scribes”. Czech researcher wrote in a 2013 study. “Native inscriptions warn of the effects of drought. It expressed that the drought led to poor harvests, food shortages, high prices and starvation of the poor.” The stones commemorate a historic drought, the researchers said.

Europe’s current drought is certainly historic. Scientists at the European Drought Observatory say the drought is on the way Worst in 500 yearsSky News reported.

Accordingly Drought Observatory, 47% of Europe is in a drought warning situation, meaning there is a lack of soil moisture. Another 17% are alert, meaning the vegetation in the area is being affected by the dry conditions.

Major rivers in Germany, Italy and England – The Rhine, Po and Thames, respectively – are drying up, DW reported. The outlet reported that rivers are “too dry, too low and too warm”, affecting wildlife, the economy and people.

Water levels in the Rhine River are about half their usual depth for this time of year, with water levels even lower in some sections, DW reported. This has made river shipping five times more expensive because cargo ships must carry less weight to ensure they don’t run aground, Reuters reported.

In Italy, the Prime Minister He said the country was experiencing, “the most serious water crisis in the last 70 years”.

Boats lie on a dry lake bed in the harbor of Valence, Hungary, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022. There is a severe drought across Europe, which also affects Hungary. According to the Directorate General of Water Management (OVF), the water level in Lake Valens, a popular tourist lake near Budapest, is at an all-time low. (AP Photo/Anna Silagi) Ap

After a month, drought occurs High temperatures and little rain, the Washington Post reported. Human-induced climate change is also contributing to “the intensity, frequency and duration of heat events” and increased droughts, the outlet reported.

Accordingly European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries“Drought has become our summer reality,” he tweeted.

Italy, SpainGermany, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine and France are all suffering from drought, according to Euronews and Sky News.

The European Drought Observatory told Sky News, “We expect the situation to worsen across much of Europe.”

This story was originally published by August 12, 2022 at 12:25 PM.

Aspen Pflughoeft covers real-time news for McClatchy. She is a graduate of Minerva University where she studied communications, history and international politics. Previously, she reported for the Deseret News.

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