BERLIN (AP) – The death toll from devastating floods in parts of West Germany and Belgium rose above 90 on Friday, while searches for hundreds of people still missing continued.
Authorities in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate said 50 people died there, including at least nine residents of an assisted living facility for people with disabilities.
In neighboring North Rhine-Westphalia, state officials have set the death toll at 30, but warned that the figure could rise further. About 1,300 people are still missing, although authorities said efforts to contact them could be hampered by disrupted roads and telephone connections.
In a provisional tally, the Belgian death toll has risen to 12, with 5 people still missing, local authorities and media report early Friday.
Flash floods this week followed days of heavy rain that turned streams and roads into rushing torrents that swept away cars and collapsed homes across the region.
Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Joe Biden expressed their grief over the loss of life during a press conference at the White House on Thursday.
The longtime German leader, who was on a farewell trip to Washington, said she feared that “the full extent of this tragedy will only be seen in the next few days.”
Rescuers rushed on Friday to help people trapped in their homes in the city of Erftstadt, southwest of Cologne, where several homes were at risk of collapse after floodwaters laid the foundations bare.
Three people were rescued from the River Wurm in Heinsberg County last Thursday.
The governor of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet, called an emergency meeting of the government on Friday. The 60-year-old’s handling of the flood disaster is widely seen as a test of his ambitions to succeed Merkel as chancellor in Germany’s national elections on September 26.
The German army has deployed 900 soldiers to help with relief efforts and eviction efforts.
Thousands of people are left homeless after their homes were destroyed or deemed at risk by the authorities, including several villages around the Steinbach reservoir that experts say could collapse under the weight of the floods.
Beyond the border in Belgium, most of the drowned people were found around Liège, where the rains hit the hardest. The sky was largely overcast in eastern Belgium, with the hope that the worst of the calamity was over.
[ https://newszetu.com/at-least-90-dead-dozens-missing-after-devastating-floods-in-europe/ https://d26toa8f6ahusa.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/30214746/a-quiet-place-part-2-bigs-16.pdf