At least 120 people have been reported dead and thousands missing in catastrophic flooding caused by record rainfall in western regions of Germany. Heavy downpour caused rivers to burst their banks, devastating the region.
While heavy rainfall battered parts of France, Switzerland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, the worst hit areas were the states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Rhineland-Palatinate.
North Rhine-Westphalia's state premier Armin Laschet described the situation as a "catastrophe of historic proportions". The North Rhine-Westphalia Interior Ministry announced today (July 16) that at least 43 died in the flooding.
Rhineland-Palatinate state premier Malu Dreyer said there was bad news every hour. "We have not yet reached the stage where we can say that the situation is easing," Dreyer said. At least 60 people died in Rhineland-Palatinate.
German emergency responders were on Friday still searching for hundreds of missing people after the worst floods in living memory.
The devastating flood also left at least 22 dead in neighbouring Belgium counted, while Luxembourg and the Netherlands were also severely affected by the torrents of water, with thousands evacuated in the city of Maastricht.
Residents of Liège, Belgium's third-largest urban area after Brussels and Antwerp, were ordered to evacuate. Local officials said those unable to leave should move to the upper floors of their buildings.
Angela Merkel Expresses Solidarity With Affected People
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is in the US ahead of a meeting with President Joe Biden, called the flooding a "catastrophe" and said she was "grieving those who have lost their lives".
"My thoughts are with you, and you can trust that all forces of our government - federal, regional and community - collectively will do everything under the most difficult conditions to save lives, alleviate dangers and to relieve distress." she added