Flood deaths in Germany and Belgium increase to 157 as searches continue

Brussels, Germany / Brussels — Rescue workers seek survivors after flood-ravaged regions of Germany and Belgium this Saturday, with river ruptures and flash floods destroying homes and killing at least 157 people. It was.

Floods in western Germany have killed about 133 people in the worst natural disasters of more than half a century. According to police, this included about 90 people in the Ahrweiler district of southern Cologne. Hundreds of people are still missing.

Approximately 700 residents were evacuated late Friday after the dam broke in the town of Wassenberg near Cologne, officials said.

German flood
After heavy rains in Kreuzberg, Germany, on July 17, 2021, broken trees and piles of debris can be seen in the flooded areas. (Wolfgang Rattay / Reuters)

“The water level has been stable since last night, and the situation is stable,” said Marcel Moller, Mayor of Wassenberg. “It’s too early to clarify everything, but we’re cautiously optimistic.”

In Belgium, the death toll has risen to 24, according to the National Crisis Center, which coordinates relief efforts.

“Unfortunately, we must assume that this number will continue to rise in the coming hours and days,” the center said in a statement. About 20 people are still missing.

Over the past few days, floods in Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate, North Rhine-Westphalia and eastern Belgium have cut off the entire community from electricity and communications.

In Luxembourg and Namur in southern Belgium, authorities were in a hurry to supply drinking water to households without a clean supply.

Water levels dropped slowly in Belgium’s worst-affected areas, but the crisis center could worsen in the afternoon along the Demar River near Brussels, threatening the destruction of about 10 homes. He said he was exposed.

Infrabel, a Belgian railway network operator, has announced plans to repair the line. Some of them are scheduled to resume service only at the end of August.

High Alert Dutch

Dutch paramedics were also vigilant as the rivers flooded and threatened towns and villages in southern Limburg.

Tens of thousands of residents of the area have been evacuated in the last two days, and soldiers, fire brigades and volunteers have worked hard to strengthen the embankments and prevent floods throughout Friday night.

The Dutch have so far escaped disasters on a neighbor’s scale and no casualties have been reported as of Saturday morning.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Crew and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will visit Pepinster, where the house was washed away, on Saturday afternoon.

German President Frank Walter Steinmeier and North Rhine-Westphalia Prime Minister Armin Laschet also planned to visit one of the most devastated towns, Erftstadt.

David Saar and Philip Brenkinsop

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