- The death toll from Western Europe’s flooding disaster continues to rise as search and rescue efforts continue
- This once-in-a-generation flooding was triggered by torrential rain in Germany and Belgium with more heavy rain forecast for Friday
- Blocked roads, as well as internet, phone and power outages are making rescue operations all the more difficult
- Neighbouring villages have been asked to evacuate with some claiming climate change as the cause of the rain
- Many people are still unaccounted for with rescue efforts continuing
The death toll from Western Europe’s flooding disaster is continuing to rise as search and rescue efforts continue.
This once-in-a-generation flooding was triggered by torrential rain in Germany and Belgium with more heavy rain forecast for Friday.
The rain caused rivers and reservoirs to burst their banks, triggering flash flooding after the saturated soil couldn’t hold any more water.
The German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia are the worst hit with more than 60 people reported to have died and dozens missing.
At least 11 people were reported to have died in Belgium with thousands asked to evacuate.
The full extent of the damage is unclear with many villages cut off by flooding and landslides that made traversing the roads strenuous.
This, as well as internet, phone and power outages are making rescue operations all the more difficult.
“I grieve for those who have lost their lives in this disaster,” German Chancellor Angel Merkel said.
“We still don’t know the number [of dead]. But it will be many.”
Many villages have been reduced to rubble as the old timber and brick structures couldn’t withstand the sudden force of water.
Authorities in the Rhine-Sieg have ordered an evacuation of several villages amid fears the dam there could break.
Premier of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet blamed climate change for the extreme rainfall.
“We will be faced with such events over and over, and that means we need to speed up climate protection measures […] because climate change isn’t confined to one state.
“We have no exact numbers of dead, but can say that we have many people who have become victims of this flood.”
Many people are still unaccounted for, and rescue efforts are continuing.