More than 126 people dead after heavy flooding hits Western Europe.
Destroyed house in Schuld near Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, western Germany. Image Credit: Christof Stache/AFP
Catastrophic floods from heavy raining in the last two days in Western Europe caused a huge devastation in Belgium and Germany resulting in at least 126 people dead. Thousands others are missing.
In the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate more than 60 people lost their lives in the floods, including 12 residents from a facility for the disabled people. Neighboring North Rhine-Westphalia reported 43 people dead. A state of emergency has been declared in Hagen, after the volume river burst its banks. The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte also declared a national disaster in the southern province of Limburg as it is sandwiched between two badly flooded areas in Belgium and Western Germany.
Officials are expecting the death toll to increase as thousands of people are still missing in the Ahrweiler district of Rhineland-Palatinate. It is a possibility that the majority of the missing could not be contacted due to damage to phone networks. The rescue operation used helicopters and inflatable boats to attempt to try to save as many people as possible. People were being rescued from the roof of their houses.
In Belgium the devastation was less than seen in Germany but twelve have been killed. Footage showed cars being swept away in the city of Verviers. The Meuse river in Liege, a city of 200,000 people, is expected to rise by another 1.5 metres and officials are also concerned by a dam bridge in the area that may collapse soon. Authorities are calling all people in the city to go to higher floors. Residents in the Belgian town of Pepinster were being evacuated by large trucks, but it had to stop after some time due to very bad conditions.
Centre of Spa, Belgium. Image Credit: AP Photo/Valentin Bianchi.
Flooding also hit France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland as they were hit with heavy raining too.
On Thursday, large parts of Germany had no telephone or internet and authorities warned that the emergency number ‘112’ was not reachable. Many villages were destroyed in the flooding as the sudden gush of water carried everything with it including trees, cars and timber houses.
Devastation in Germany. Image Credit: AP Photo/Michael Probst
The governor of Rhineland-Palatinate state, Malu Dreyer said that he was shocked at the devastation.
We have never seen such a disaster. It’s really devastating.Governor of Rhineland-Palatinate state Malu Dreyer.
The Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel and the German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier were both stunned by the amount of devastation created by the huge flooding.
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.Angela Merkel.
The German President reiterated the importance of tackling global warming as its effects are affecting everyone.
Only if we decisively take up the fight against climate change will we be able to limit the extreme weather conditions we are now experiencing.Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Several experts claimed that such destructive floodings may happen more often due to climate change.
Some parts of western Europe… received up to two months of rainfall in the space of two days.World Meteorological Organization spokesperson Clare Nullis .
More details to follow.