Bad weather in Germany: 19 dead and dozens missing in violent floods

 FLOODS The toll could grow even worse

The damage in the town of Hagen. - Roberto Pfeil / AP / SIPA
The damage in the town of Hagen. Roberto Pfeil / AP / SIPA

Torrential rains and floods left nineteen dead and dozens missing in western  Germany where hundreds of firefighters were mobilized Thursday to rescue the inhabitants of several affected localities. The district of Euskirchen (North Rhine-Westphalia) announced Thursday morning the death of eight people, increasing the human toll of bad weather. In this region, two firefighters also died in intervention, while two men were drowned in their flooded cellar. Some 135,000 households are deprived of electricity in this land. For lack of power, the authorities undertook to evacuate nearly 500 patients from a clinic.

Many people are also missing in this region and the neighboring land of Rhineland-Palatinate.

The overall bad weather toll could increase. Thus in the municipality of Schuld, south of Bonn, where six houses along the river have collapsed, the police count between 50 and 60 missings. Other houses threaten to collapse.

The bad weather killed "four people in the district of Ahrweiler, died because of the weather or as a result of these disasters," said a spokesperson for the Koblenz police. Many people are missing in the district. Locals have been urged to send police videos and photos that could provide clues about their missing loved ones.

Belgium and Luxembourg also affected

Western Germany was hit by torrential rains that swelled rivers, tore up trees, flooded roads and homes. Help is trying to evacuate the victims, many of whom have taken refuge on the roofs of houses. But many accesses are blocked, complicating operations. Authorities called on residents to stay at home if possible and "move to the upper floors if necessary." The leader of the Rhineland-Palatinate region, Malu Dreyer said she was "anxious with all those who are in danger".

The regions of Saarland, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (northeast) have been placed on thunderstorm alert. Tuesday, it was Bavaria, in the south of the country, which had been badly affected, the state of natural disaster having even been declared in the district of Hof, due to flooded roads.

Neighboring the most affected German regions, Belgium and Luxembourg are also affected by bad weather. Luxembourg launched the “bad weather” plan following heavy rainfall. "Many" houses are flooded and "more livable" across the country and their inhabitants have been evacuated, according to the authorities.

Belgium has been experiencing heavy rains for several days which caused a large number of rivers in the French-speaking region of Wallonia to rise from their beds, causing flooding on Thursday. The provinces of Liège and Namur were particularly affected, the seaside resort of Spa being completely invaded by water.

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