Germany floods – At least 80 dead and ‘1,300 missing’ after worst storm in memory and MORE rain is coming

MORE than 80 people have died and up to 1,300 are feared missing after apocalyptic rains ravaged Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, sparking deadly floods.

Residents have been ordered to evacuate as swollen rivers are forecast to rise even higher tonight as more extreme weather is on the way – with further torrential rain forecast to hit the deluged region.

ReutersThe unprecedented weather has wreaked havoc across Western Europe[/caption]

APParts of western Germany are under water after being hit by a freak rain storm[/caption]

Zuma PressResidents being saved in Liege, Belgium[/caption]

A five-car pile-up in Verviers, Belgium

RexA woman wading through floodwater in Liege[/caption]

Cars in flooded water in Ensival, Belgium

Authorities of the Ahrweiler District in Rhineland-Palatinate said that at least 1,300 people may be missing after a traumatic day of destruction, that has brought power and cell signal outages.

The devastating storm dumped 148 litres of rain per square metre within 48 hours in western Germany, which usually sees 80 litres during the whole of July.

German Chancellor Angela 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.

Fears are growing for those missing in the wake of the record rainfall as struggling rescue teams battle to cope with the demand while battling against the strong currents.

Authorities have warned to expect more flooding downstream after a dam near Heimbach, Germany overflowed on Thursday evening.

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.

At least 58 people have died in Germany while another nine fatalities were reported in Belgium – including a 15-year-old girl.

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.

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.

APAt least 70 people have died in Western Germany as a result of the flooding[/caption]

AFPUp to 1,300 are feared to be missing[/caption]

RexThe strong currents are proving difficult for rescue teams to navigate[/caption]

GettyBelgian residents evacuated their homes amid fears the waters are set to rise even further[/caption]

APThere has been major damage done to roads and houses[/caption]

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.

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.

THOUSANDS EVACUATED

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.”

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.

EPAThe river Ahr burst its banks, killing at least 19 people in Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate[/caption]

EPAA destroyed car lies in the Ahr river after heavy flooding in Schuld, Germany[/caption]

EPAAuthorities are urging people to stay away from flood waters[/caption]

Damaged cars and buildings in Hagen, Germany

EPAThousands of people have been forced to evacuate[/caption]

German army tanks pulls a truck from the mud in Hagen

An Envisal resident looks out of her door

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 FOR FRIDAY

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.”

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.

More storms are expected to hit southwestern Germany today and could last until tonight, forecasters said.

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

EPAA state of emergency was declared in the North Rhine Westphalia city of Hagen[/caption]

EPAFirefighters move sandbags to fight off the Duessel, which flooded large parts of Duesseldorf[/caption]

EPAHeavy rain is also forecast for Friday[/caption]

APRescue operations remain ongoing as many more are feared dead[/caption]


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.