Germany floods – At least 103 dead & 1300 missing amid fears dam could BURST after 3 months of rain fell in 24 hours


MORE than a 100 people have died and up to 1,300 are missing after apocalyptic rains ravaged Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium — sparking fears dams could burst.

Residents have been ordered to evacuate as swollen rivers with German Chancellor Angela Merkel expecting “many” more deaths amid mounting concerns of a fresh disaster as more rain is forecast.

Rescuers were rushing today to help people trapped in their homes in the town of Erftstadt, southwest of Cologne

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Rescuers were rushing today to help people trapped in their homes in the town of Erftstadt, southwest of CologneCredit: AP
Schuld: The village in the district of Ahrweiler is largely destroyed and flooded after the storm with high water

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Schuld: The village in the district of Ahrweiler is largely destroyed and flooded after the storm with high waterCredit: Boris Roessler / Avalon
The unprecedented weather has wreaked havoc across Western Europe

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The unprecedented weather has wreaked havoc across Western EuropeCredit: Reuters
Residents being saved in Liege, Belgium

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Residents being saved in Liege, BelgiumCredit: Zuma Press
A five-car pile-up in Verviers, Belgium

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A five-car pile-up in Verviers, Belgium

The death toll from devastating floods in Germany reached 103 today, local officials said, bringing the total number of deaths in Europe to at least 110.

Entire communities lay in ruins after swollen rivers swept through towns and villages in the German states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, Belgium and the Netherlands.

About 1,300 people were missing in the Ahrweiler district south of Cologne, the district government said on Facebook.

Mobile phone networks have collapsed in some of the flood-stricken regions, which means that family and friends were unable to track down their loved ones.

The devastating storm dumped 148 litres of rain per square metre within 48 hours, which usually sees 80 litres during the whole of July, in the worst deluge for 200 years.

Meanwhile, authorities in Rhine-Sieg county south of Cologne ordered the evacuation of several villages below the Steinbach reservoir because they fear the dam there could break.

One dam close to the Belgium border, the Rurtalsperre, was flooded overnight while another, the Steinbachtalsperre, is on the brink of collapsae

Regional interior minister Roger Lewentz told broadcaster SWR: “When you haven’t heard for people for such a long time … you have to fear the worst.”

“The number of victims will likely keep rising in the coming days.”

The number of victims will likely keep rising in the coming days

Regional interior minister Roger Lewentz

Chancellor Merkel dubbed the dire weather “a catastrophe” ahead of a meeting in Washington with US President Joe Biden.

She told a press conference: “Heavy rainfall and floods are very inadequate words to describe this — it is therefore really a catastrophe.”

Flooding has also reached Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, while several regions in Switzerland, France and the Czech Republic also on high alert.

Authorities have warned to expect more flooding downstream after a dam near Heimbach, Germany overflowed last night

The unprecedented weather has created a perilous situation in Western Europe, seeing thousands forced to evacuate as homes collapse and cars are swept away by floodwaters.

Police have asked people to share footage and pictures of the floods to help them locate the missing as hundreds of soldiers were deployed to aid authorities.

‘MORE EXTREME STORMS ON WAY’

Now, Germany’s DWD meteorologists are predicting further “extreme storms” in the western and central parts of Germany, with peak rainfall possibly reaching 200 litres per square meter.

France, Italy, and Australia have sent a flood rescue team to assist overwhelmed Belgian authorities, as the government of the country’s Wallonia region granted €2.5 billion in emergency aid.

Residents who live near the banks of the Meuse and Sambre rivers in Namur, Belgium and those in the city of Liege have been urged to evacuate as waters continue to rise.

In the Ahrweiler district of Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate, at least 28 people have died — 19 of which were killed after the Ahr river burst its banks, destroying six houses.

At least another 30 died in the North Rhine-Westphalia state, with 15 deaths being reported in the district of Euskirchen.

In Sinzig, twelve people with disabilities perished when floods hit their care home.

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Dozens of people are missing in Germany after heavy flooding turned streams and streets into raging torrents, sweeping away cars and causing some buildings to collapse

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Dozens of people are missing in Germany after heavy flooding turned streams and streets into raging torrents, sweeping away cars and causing some buildings to collapseCredit: AP
A woman wading through floodwater in Liege

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A woman wading through floodwater in LiegeCredit: Rex
Water shoots out of the outlet of the hydroelectric power station below the Ruhr dam near Heimbach, Germany... it is feared it could burst at any minute

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Water shoots out of the outlet of the hydroelectric power station below the Ruhr dam near Heimbach, Germany… it is feared it could burst at any minuteCredit: AP
Weather maps show an area of low pressure which is set to unleash more heavy rain

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Weather maps show an area of low pressure which is set to unleash more heavy rainCredit: WX CHARTS
Damaged cars pile up on a street after flooding in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler

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Damaged cars pile up on a street after flooding in Bad Neuenahr-AhrweilerCredit: EPA
Large parts of Western Germany were hit by heavy, continuous rain

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Large parts of Western Germany were hit by heavy, continuous rainCredit: EPA
A destroyed caravan and other debris lie next to a railway track in Altenahr, Germany

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A destroyed caravan and other debris lie next to a railway track in Altenahr, GermanyCredit: AP
Walporzheim, Germany, after flood waters swept through

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Walporzheim, Germany, after flood waters swept throughCredit: Rex

German police have said up to 70 people are missing in the Schuld municipality after homes sat along a river collapsed.

In Cologne, a 72-year-old woman and a 54-year-old man died when their basements flooded while another drowned in his cellar in Solingen.

Two German firefighters also died during rescue operations in the North Rhine Westphalia towns of Altena and Werdohl, with one drowning and another dying of a heart attack, the Telegraph reports.

In Leverkusen, 468 people were evacuated from a hospital after floods cut off power, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

People are being evacuated in a tractor trailer in a flooded street on July 15, 2021 in Valkenburg, Netherlands

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People are being evacuated in a tractor trailer in a flooded street on July 15, 2021 in Valkenburg, NetherlandsCredit: Getty
Up to 1,300 are feared to be missing

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Up to 1,300 are feared to be missingCredit: AFP
The strong currents are proving difficult for rescue teams to navigate

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The strong currents are proving difficult for rescue teams to navigateCredit: Rex

Expressing her dismay on Twitter, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “I am shocked by the disaster that has affected so many people.

“My condolences go out to the relatives of the dead and missing. I thank the many tireless helpers and emergency services from the bottom of my heart.”

North Rhine Westphalia leader Armin Laschet, who is running to succeed Merkel in September elections, cancelled a party meeting in Bavaria to survey the damage in his state, which is one of Germany’s most populous.

“We will stand by the towns and people who’ve been affected,” Laschet, clad in rubber boots, told reporters in the town of Hagen.

Belgian residents evacuated their homes amid fears the waters are set to rise even further

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Belgian residents evacuated their homes amid fears the waters are set to rise even furtherCredit: Getty
There has been major damage done to roads and houses

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There has been major damage done to roads and housesCredit: AP

Large chunks of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine Westphalia are under water while villages in Belgium‘s Liege and Wallonia provinces were being evacuated due to rising river levels.

Belgium news outlet VRT NWS quoted the mayor of Pepinster, a small town of around 10,000 people in the Liege province, who said dozens of houses collapsed along the Vesdre River that flows through the area.

In the town of Chaudfontaine, daily Le Soir reported that nearly 1,800 people had to evacuate while 250 people in Moelingen were forced to leave their homes overnight.

“The emergency services advised us not to wait until tomorrow morning and to get out immediately” one woman told Belgian TV station VTM News. “The house is completely full of water.”

THOUSANDS EVACUATED

VRT NWS also confirmed that the body of a 50-year-old man was found in the basement of his house in Aywaille, while the BBC confirmed five others have died.

Alexandre de Croo, the Belgian prime minister, tweeted: “Belgium faces unprecedented rainfall. We assure all those affected as well as the local authorities our full support.

“All emergency services are mobilized with the help of the Ministry of Interior and Defense. Belgium receives international support.”

Meanwhile, 433 homes are without electricity and a number of care homes have been evacuated in the southern Dutch province of Limburg, which borders Germany and Belgium, due heavy rainfall, according to DutchNews.nl.

Local news footage showed small rivers of water flowing through the scenic city centre’s streets and at least one care home had been evacuated.

It’s a catastrophe! There are dead, missing and many people still in danger.

Malu DreyerRhineland-Palatinate premier

Meanwhile the Luxembourg government set up a crisis cell to respond to emergencies triggered by heavy rains overnight as Prime Minister Xavier Bettel reported “several homes” had been flooded and were “no longer inhabitable”.

Back in Germany, homes in the Ahrweiler district are reportedly in danger of suddenly collapsing, while six have already crumbled, local police said Thursday morning.

Residents have been seen using shovels and excavators to clear mounds of stones and earth from main roads.

In neighbouring North Rhine Westphalia, at least 13 people are confirmed dead with bodies found scattered in several places across the Eifel valleys.

Four of the dead were in the municipality of Schuld south of Bonn where six houses were swept away by floods, a police spokesman in the city of Koblenz said.

Flooding has caused major damage to properties and forced authorities to close off large portions of motorways leading in and around the inundated areas.

The river Ahr burst its banks, killing at least 19 people in Germany's Rhineland-Palatinate

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The river Ahr burst its banks, killing at least 19 people in Germany’s Rhineland-PalatinateCredit: EPA
A destroyed car lies in the Ahr river after heavy flooding in Schuld, Germany

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A destroyed car lies in the Ahr river after heavy flooding in Schuld, GermanyCredit: EPA
Authorities are urging people to stay away from flood waters

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Authorities are urging people to stay away from flood watersCredit: EPA
Damaged cars and buildings in Hagen, Germany

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Damaged cars and buildings in Hagen, Germany
Thousands of people have been forced to evacuate

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Thousands of people have been forced to evacuateCredit: EPA
German army tanks pulls a truck from the mud in Hagen

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German army tanks pulls a truck from the mud in Hagen
An Envisal resident looks out of her door

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An Envisal resident looks out of her door
The fire brigade evacuate people from their homes in South Limburg, the Netherlands

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The fire brigade evacuate people from their homes in South Limburg, the Netherlands

A police spokesman in Koblenz, Rhineland-Palatinate, said that up to 70 people are missing, Bild reports.

Some 50 people trapped on their roofs have been rescued, a local police official said.

The situation in the rural area of Eifelkreis Bitburg-Prum has been described as “extremely dangerous” after 15 deaths were reported.

A family of five was reportedly stranded in their home while being surrounded by rising water – with rescue attempts proving unsuccessful.

Residents were seen climbing onto the roofs of their homes in a desperate attempt to be rescued by helicopters.

HEAVY RAIN FORECAST

Rescuers have also become trapped in some parts due to the strong current of floodwaters.

“There are many places where fire brigades and rescue workers have been deployed. We don’t yet have a very precise picture because rescue measures are continuing,” a police spokesperson said.

Rhineland-Palatinate premier Malu Dreyer declared the floods a “catastrophe”.

“It’s a catastrophe! There are dead, missing and many people still in danger,” he said.

“All of our emergency services are in action round the clock and risking their own lives.

“I extend my sympathies to the victims of this flood catastrophe.”

A state of emergency was declared in the North Rhine Westphalia city of Hagen

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A state of emergency was declared in the North Rhine Westphalia city of HagenCredit: EPA
Firefighters move sandbags to fight off the Duessel, which flooded large parts of Duesseldorf

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Firefighters move sandbags to fight off the Duessel, which flooded large parts of DuesseldorfCredit: EPA
Heavy rain is also forecast for Friday

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Heavy rain is also forecast for FridayCredit: EPA
Rescue operations remain ongoing as many more are feared dead

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Rescue operations remain ongoing as many more are feared deadCredit: AP

The Germany Weather Service issued an extreme weather warning for three states this week and said rains over the past 24 hours had been “unprecedented”.

Heavy rain is forecast across the region on Friday, raising concerns more fatalities could be recorded.

The city of Hagen declared a state of emergency after the banks of the Volme river burst, leaving around 190,000 households without power.

Rail and road transport has been disrupted by the torrential downpours and hundreds of soliders have been called in to help with evacuations.

The country was hit by heavy rains caused by a low-pressure weather system that meteorologists have dubbed “Bern”.

Environment official Bernd Mehlig told WDR: “We see this kind of situation only in winter ordinarily.

“Something like this, with this intensity, is completely unusual in summer.”

According to 2019 figures on statista.com, North Rhine Westphalia is the most populated region in Germany with 18million of the country’s 83million inhabitants and consists of cities such as Dortmund, Dusseldorf and Cologne.

Residents evacuated near banks of Meuse and Sambre rivers in Belgium





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