German news : German emergency teams are still searching for hundreds of missing people after catastrophic floods. The massive flooding that hit western Germany has killed at least 93 people and wiped out several houses.
- At least 93 people have been reported dead across western Germany
- Many are still missing
- 55 people were rescued after houses collapsed South of Cologne
- North Rhine-Westphalia state cabinet to hold an emergency meeting
This article is being updated at 12:23 pm
The most-read daily newspaper in Germany, “Bild”, headlined its front page “Floods of Death” after heavy rains fell in several regions, causing a large number of victims and material damage and sowing terror among the residents who were surprised by the floods.
Neighboring Belgium counted at least nine dead, while Luxembourg and the Netherlands were hit hard by the floods. But the death toll from floods in Germany was the highest, at 93, and is likely to rise with large numbers of people still missing in the hardest-hit states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate.
In the devastated Ahrweiler region of the Rhineland-Palatinate, about 1,300 people were missing. However, the local authorities told Bild newspaper that this large number is most likely due to the damage to the phone networks and the inability to communicate with many of them.
“We think there are still 40, 50 or 60 people missing, and when you don’t know anything about people for a long time… you have to fear the worst,” Regional Interior Minister Roger Lofitz told EWR radio. He added, “Most likely, the number of casualties will continue to rise in the coming days.
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in Washington, where she met President Joe Biden, expressed her fear “that the true extent of the disaster will only be known in the coming days.” “My heart goes out to all the people who have lost loved ones in this disaster and who are concerned about the fate of people who are still missing,” Merkel told reporters. She explained that her government would not leave those affected “alone in their suffering”, adding that it was “doing everything possible to help them in their plight.”
Devastation and ruin
Also, rain is expected to continue in parts of western Germany, where the water level in the Rhine and its tributaries is rising dangerously. About 1,000 soldiers have been deployed to assist in the rescue and rubble removal operations in the affected towns and villages.
Streets, submerged houses, overturned cars and uprooted trees can be seen in all the sites affected by the floods, while some areas were cut off from the outside world.
In Arweiler, many houses have completely collapsed, leaving the impression that a tsunami has hit the city. At least 20 people have been confirmed dead in Askerchen, one of the worst-hit towns in northern Germany. The city center, which is usually clean and neat, looks like a ruined square.
Source: AFP, euronews, DW