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News: 1,300 people assumed missing in one German district after deadly floods


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Berlin (CNN)  About 1,300 people remain unaccounted for in Germany after the heaviest rainfall in a century caused deadly flash floods to devastate parts of Western Europe, prompting a large-scale rescue effort.

… Germany is worst hit with 49 dead, while six people died in Belgium. Luxembourg and the Netherlands are also affected. 

In Germany's worst hit Rhineland-Palatinate state, 1,300 people are "assumed" missing in the district of Ahrweiler, the local government said.

… Along with Rhineland-Palatinate, the German regions of North Rhine-Westphalia and Saarland were worst affected, Friedrich added.


… In North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state, 30 people have been found dead, a spokesman for the state government told CNN. According to the spokesman, at least 50 people were also injured in the floods and the number of people missing is unclear.

In Rhineland-Palatinate, at least 19 people were found dead, but "that number is expected to rise," a spokesman for police in Koblenz told CNN. 

On Thursday morning in the district of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, more than 1,000 police and emergency workers were called in, the local government said. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is on her swansong visit to Washington, DC, described the deadly floods as a "catastrophe."

"Here in Washington, my thoughts are also always with the people in our homeland," Merkel said at a news conference on Thursday ahead of her meeting with President Joe Biden.

"Peaceful places are going through a catastrophe in these hours, one can say a tragedy. Heavy rainfall and floods are very inadequate words to describe this -- it is therefore really a catastrophe.''

Merkel said the focus is on the rescue and immediate response to those affected by the floods, but added that she was in close contact with her country's finance minister, Olaf Scholz, to work on a strategy for longer-term financial aid to help with recovery. 

"I mourn for those who have lost their lives in this catastrophe -- we do not yet know these numbers but there will be many," she added. 

Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert offered condolences to the families of the victims. "I am shocked by the disaster that so many people in the flood areas have to endure. My sympathies go out to the families of the dead and missing," Seibert wrote on Twitter.

Six deaths in Belgium

In neighboring Belgium, at least six people died in floods in the southern region of Wallonia, CNN affiliate RTBF reported Thursday, citing the magistrate on duty at the Verviers prosecutor's office and the governor of the Liège province.

The Wallonia region borders North Rhine-Westphalia. The floods have also disrupted Belgium's national railway network, Infrabel, stopping services in the French-speaking south of the country, the company said Thursday in a press release.

… Italy has begun sending search crews and vehicles to Wallonia, the Italian Civil Protection agency said in a statement.

King Philippe of Belgium visited the town of Chaudfontaine, in the province of Liège, after it was hit by severe flooding.

"We are really touched by the severity of the catastrophe," Philippe said in an on-camera statement. "Our thoughts go to the victims, their families, and all the people who had to be evacuated in emergency from disaster areas." 

Workers from France's Civil Protection Agency arrived in the Belgium province of Liege to assist with recovery and rescue efforts.

"Rescuers from the instruction and intervention unit of the (French) Civil Protection carry out the first reconnaissance operations," the French Civil Protection agency said in a post on Twitter, shortly after their arrival. "They will be joined this evening by firefighters, divers and lifeguards."

The European Union also activated the civil emergency response mechanism to help areas of Belgium affected by floods, the EU Commission said Thursday in a statement.

"Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Germany you can count on the EU's help to face these dramatic floods. My thoughts are with the victims of these tragic events and with all who will have to rebuild what they have lost. I want to thank all rescue teams for their invaluable help and relentless efforts," EU Council president Charles Michel tweeted Thursday.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted an offer of support on Thursday.

"Shocking to see the devastating flooding across Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium," Johnson tweeted.

"My thoughts are with the families of the victims and all those affected. The UK is ready to provide any support needed in the rescue and recovery effort."”

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some other news sources. the BBC one is reporting over 80 dead and hundreds missing

the village of Schuld with a population of 700 is almost completely destroyed 

more heavy rain expected

Edited by Melissa in Australia
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By our (flemish) morning news there are 14 deads in Belgium now.

The rain has stopped (at least where I live) so now it is keeping the fingers crossed dikes and dams won’t break through.

Living in Belgium, but not in the East part.

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This article was last updated at 07:41 UTC
More than 50 people have been reported dead in Rhineland-Palatinate, and dozens were still missing.

Rhineland-Palatinate Interior Minister Roger Lewentz told broadcaster Deutschlandfunk that he expects rescue workers to recover more bodies during their search. 

Lewentz also doubted that the 1,300 people that were reportedly unaccounted for were all missing. "However, yesterday was also a day when it was very difficult to get an overview. People fled their buildings," he said.

… DPA news agency quoted a spokesman for the district government of Cologne as saying that there have been fatalities in Erftstadt. It was unclear how many people were killed. 

Death toll at 81 

German state broadcaster ARD reported that at least 81 people have died in the flooding in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate

There were still more than 1,300 people unaccounted for in the Ahrweiler region, possibly due to mobile networks being down.


Rescue operations made difficult without service 

Rescue operations were hampered by the fact that phone and internet connections were down in part of the region of Euskirchen, one of the hardest-hit regions. Southwest of the city of Cologne, authorities in the Euskirchen area reported eight deaths there alone.

Army deployed to help out 

The German army arrived on the scene in the western states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, as part of the rescue operations. Rhineland-Palatinate state premier Malu Dreyer has ordered all official buildings to fly their flags at half-mast in memory of the victims.“

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I saw this yesterday.   It's terrible.  The pictures are even worse.

There was also flooding in Switzerland. (even though it's not part of the Germany/Lux/Belg/Netherland area that as see so much destruction.)

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1 hour ago, gardenmom5 said:

There was also flooding in Switzerland. (even though it's not part of the Germany/Lux/Belg/Netherland area that as see so much destruction.)

Thankfully no casualties


There have been no reported casualties in Switzerland, according to police. Unlike in neighbouring Germany.

…. The rain is not set to ease until Monday, according to meteorologists”

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Posted (edited)

https://m.dw.com/en/european-floods-belgium-warns-against-travel-as-death-toll-climbs/a-58288191 (ETA: sorry if it shows up as giant text. Don't know why formatting is off)

"Belgium's crisis center has said traveling to the flood-hit regions of the country, where many Belgians have holiday homes, could scupper search and rescue operations.

Belgian officials warned against all travel to the country's flood-ravaged regions as one of the country's leading newspapers reported that the death toll had risen to 23 nationwide.

Le Soir, a national centrist daily, cited government sources as saying more fatalities had been confirmed.

Overnight, the number of confirmed deaths stood at 12. 

Wallonia, Belgium's largely French-speaking region, is among one of the worst-affected areas where more than 21,000 people are currently without electricity.

"Avoid traveling to the affected provinces," the Belgian crisis center, which handles major emergencies, said in a statement. 


The regions concerned are mainly in the south and east of Belgium.

Top Walloon official warns of possible rising death toll

Elio di Rupo, who leads Wallonia's regional government, told the RTBF broadcaster that the death toll could rise further.

"Yesterday [Thursday] evening, hundreds of people were still trapped in their homes," he said in an interview.

Paramedics, police and the military have been dispatched to those areas to help with rescue and evacuation operations.

Federal police said dozens of road and rail connections across the entire region remain closed."


Edited by Arcadia
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"Record rainfall has caused swollen rivers to burst their banks and wash away homes and other buildings in western Europe – leading to more than 90 casualties and over 1000 people missing. Data from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission are being used to map flooded areas to help relief efforts.

The German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia were among the worst hit by the torrential rainfall, with water levels rising in the Rhine River, as well as the Walloon Region in Belgium. The storms and high waters have also battered neighbouring Switzerland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

This radar image uses information from two separate acquisitions captured by the Sentinel-1 mission on 3 July and 15 July 2021, and it shows the extent of the flooding in red. Radar images acquired before and after flooding disasters offer immediate information on the extent of inundation and have proved useful in monitoring floods, thanks to Sentinel-1’s ability to ‘see’ through clouds and rain.

The mission has been supplying imagery through the Copernicus Emergency Mapping Service to aid relief efforts. The devastating floods has triggered four activations in the Copernicus Emergency Mapping Service, in Western Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Record rainfall has caused swollen rivers to burst their banks and wash away homes and other buildings in western Europe. Data from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission are being used to map flooded areas to help relief efforts."

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This is so awful! Watching video footage of Koblentz, it looks soooo familiar; it looks just like the AirBnB village my dd and I stayed in last year. 

She said there is also flooding in Vouziers, where she was teaching when the pandemic came, though I don’t think any deaths so far. 

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