Over 100 dead, hundreds missing as flood water inundates Europe
More than 100 people have lost their lives and hundreds more missing as heavy flood has inundated the Western Europe.
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A search operation is underway to find more than 1,300 people missing in Germany’s west. Authorities say at least 93 people have lost their lives.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called the flooding a catastrophe. Her country is the worst affected state by the ongoing flooding.
Belgium has confirmed at least 12 deaths. Luxembourg and Netherlands have evacuated thousands of people. More heavy rain is forecast across the region Friday. Experts have blamed climate change for the huge floods.
Rescuers are scrambling to find survivors and rescue people trapped in houses at risk of collapse.
The flash floods this week followed days of heavy rainfall which turned streams and streets into raging torrents that swept away cars and caused houses to collapse across the region.
The long-time German leader, who was on a farewell trip to Washington during the catastrophe , said she feared that “the full extent of this tragedy will only be seen in the coming days.”
Regional authorities in the town of Erftstadt, southwest of Cologne, said several people had died after their houses collapsed due to subsidence, and aerial pictures showed what appeared to be a massive sinkhole.
Rescue operations were hampered by blocked roads and phone and internet outages across the Eifel, a volcanic region of rolling hills and small valleys.
Some villages were reduced to rubble as old brick and timber houses couldn’t withstand the sudden rush of water, often carrying trees and other debris as it gushed through narrow streets.
“There are people dead, there are people missing, there are many who are still in danger,” the governor of Rhineland-Palatinate state, Malu Dreyer, told the regional parliament. “We have never seen such a disaster. It’s really devastating.”
Major highways were inundated in southern and eastern parts of Belgium, and the railway said all trains were halted.
The full extent of the damage was still unclear, with many villages cut off by floods and landslides that made roads impassable. Videos on social media showed cars floating down streets and houses partially collapsed. Many of the dead were only discovered after floodwaters receded.
In the Netherlands, thousands of people in neighborhoods of the city of Maastricht and other villages along the Maas River were ordered to evacuate amid threats of flooding, and centers were set up to house them.
In northeastern France, heavy rains flooded vegetable fields, many homes and a World War I museum in Romagne-sous-Montfaucon.
The Aire River rose to its highest levels in 30 years in some areas, according to the L’Est Republicain newspaper.
The equivalent of two months of rain has fallen over two days, according to the French national weather service, with flood warnings issued for 10 regions.