Death Count Rises To 168, Hundreds Missing In Germany, Belgium Floods


Residents and business owners struggled to pick up the pieces in battered towns.

Erftstadt, Germany/ Wassenberg, Germany:

- Advertisement -

The death count in devastating flooding in western Germany and Belgium rose to at least 168 on Saturday after burst rivers and flash floods this week collapsed houses and ripped up roads and power lines.

Some 141 people died in the flooding in Germany’s worst natural disaster in more than half a century. That included about 98 in the Ahrweiler district south of Cologne, according to police.

- Advertisement -

Hundreds of people were still missing or unreachable as several areas were inaccessible due to high water levels while communication in some places was still down.

Residents and business owners struggled to pick up the pieces in battered towns.

“Everything is completely destroyed. You don’t recognise the scenery,” said Michael Lang, owner of a wine shop in the town of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler in Ahrweiler, fighting back tears.

- Advertisement -

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Erftstadt in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where the disaster killed at least 43 people.

“We mourn with those that have lost friends, acquaintances, family members,” he said. “Their fate is ripping our hearts apart.”

Around 700 residents were evacuated late on Friday after a dam broke in the town of Wassenberg near Cologne, authorities said.

But Wassenberg mayor Marcel Maurer said water levels had been stabilising since the night. “It’s too early to give the all-clear but we are cautiously optimistic,” he said.

The Steinbachtal dam in western Germany, however, remained at risk of breaching, authorities said after some 4,500 people were evacuated from homes downstream.

Steinmeier said it would take weeks before the full damage, expected to require several billions of euros in reconstruction funds, could be assessed.

Armin Laschet, state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia and the ruling CDU party’s candidate in September’s general election, said he would speak to Finance Minister Olaf Scholz in the coming days about financial support.

Chancellor Angela Merkel was expected to travel on Sunday to Rhineland Palatinate, the state that is home to the devastated village of Schuld.

In Belgium, the death count rose to 27, according to the national crisis centre, which is coordinating the relief operation there.

It added that 103 people were “missing or unreachable”. Some were likely unreachable because they could not recharge mobile phones or were in hospital without identity papers, the centre said.

COMMUNITIES CUT OFF

Over the past several days the floods, which have mostly hit the German states of Rhineland Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia and eastern Belgium, have cut off entire communities from power and communications.

RWE, Germany’s largest power producer, said on Saturday its opencast mine in Inden and the Weisweiler coal-fired power plant were massively affected, adding that the plant was running at lower capacity after the situation stabilised.

The utility expects damages to be in the mid double-digit million euro range.

In the southern Belgian provinces of Luxembourg and Namur, authorities rushed to supply drinking water to households without a clean supply.

Water levels slowly fell in the worst hit parts of Belgium, allowing residents to sort through damaged possessions. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visited some areas on Saturday afternoon.

Belgian rail network operator Infrabel published plans of repairs to lines, some of which would be back in service only at the very end of August.

HIGH ALERT IN THE NETHERLANDS

Emergency services in the Netherlands also remained on high alert as overflowing rivers threatened towns and villages throughout the southern province of Limburg.

Tens of thousands of residents in the region have been evacuated in the past two days, while soldiers, fire brigades and volunteers worked frantically throughout Friday night to enforce dykes and prevent flooding.

The Dutch have so far escaped disaster on the scale of its neighbours, and as of Saturday morning no casualties had been reported.

Scientists have long said that climate change will lead to heavier downpours. But determining its role in these relentless rainfalls will take at least several weeks to research, scientists said on Friday.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


Source Link

- Advertisement -

Share

Latest Updates

Miguel Cervantes Returns To Title Role – Deadline

The Broadway cast of Hamilton will star Miguel Cervantes in the title role when the hit musical resumes performances at the Richard Rodgers...

Sebastian Stan Joins Julianne Moore In Apple Original Con Artist Pic ‘Sharper’ – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s leading man will star alongside Oscar winner Julianne Moore in Apple Original film and A24’s  Sharper, we...

Matt Bomer To Star In ‘Echoes’ Netflix Limited Series – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: Matt Bomer is set as a male leads opposite Michelle Monaghan in Echoes, Netflix’s psychological thriller limited series from 13 Reasons Why showrunner...

Trending News

Miguel Cervantes Returns To Title Role – Deadline

The Broadway cast of Hamilton will star Miguel Cervantes in the title role when the hit musical resumes performances at the Richard Rodgers...

Sebastian Stan Joins Julianne Moore In Apple Original Con Artist Pic ‘Sharper’ – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s leading man will star alongside Oscar winner Julianne Moore in Apple Original film and A24’s  Sharper, we...

Matt Bomer To Star In ‘Echoes’ Netflix Limited Series – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: Matt Bomer is set as a male leads opposite Michelle Monaghan in Echoes, Netflix’s psychological thriller limited series from 13 Reasons Why showrunner...

August 2021 Film Preview | Women and Hollywood

A history-making Sundance winner and a biopic about the Queen of Soul are among the most anticipated titles hitting theaters this August.  Kicking off...

Berlanti/Schechter Films Promotes Michael McGrath To EVP of Film – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: Michael McGrath has been tapped as EVP of Film at Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter’s production company Berlanti/Schechter Films. “We are so pleased...

‘The Offer’ Limited Series Pauses Production After Positive Covid Test – Deadline

The 10-episode event series features a very large cast that includes Miles Teller, who plays Al Rudy, Matthew Goode (Robert Evans), Giovanni Ribisi...