The death toll from the severe flooding in western Europe has climbed to 126 as of today, mostly in western Germany, as local rescue workers continue to work hard to find the missing.
In the affected areas of Germany, the unexpectedly tumbling floods caught local residents completely off guard, with water levels continuing to rise throughout the night, causing devastation that shocked the public. Germany’s best-selling “Bild” newspaper called it a “flood of death”.
Christoph Buecken, who lives in Eschweiler, North Rhine-Westphalia, told AFP: “We rushed home and found the water was up to our waists, and the water level rose another 50 centimeters overnight. “
In Bad Neuenahr, Rhineland-Palatinate, Agron Berischa, 21, said, “The water flooded everything in 15 minutes, our apartment, our office, our neighbors’ houses, everything was soaked in water.”
That’s not all, as the death toll is threatening to climb again due to a mudslide in Erftstadt-Blessem, North Rhine-Westphalia, caused by flooding today.
In Germany’s hardest-hit county, Ahrweiler, several houses collapsed in what looked like a tsunami. At least 24 people were confirmed dead in Euskirchen, one of the worst-hit towns.
German authorities said today that the cumulative death toll in the Rhine-Faal sub-state reached 60, bringing the number of victims nationwide to 103.
Some 1,300 people are still unaccounted for in Alweiler County, but local authorities told Pictorial that the high number is likely due to damaged telephone lines.
Roger Lewentz, director of the interior of the Rhine-Faal sub-state, said the number of missing people was feared to be 60, and that “if we don’t hear from these people for this long, … we might have to assume the worst.
And in Belgium, the cumulative death toll climbed to 23. One of the regions experienced a power outage affecting more than 21,000 people.
Belgium’s Wallonia regional governor, Elio Di Rupo, warned that the Meuse River was so high that the nearby city of Liege, home to 200,000 people, “looks very dangerous.
Heavy rains also fell in Luxembourg and the Netherlands, causing flooding in many areas. In the Netherlands, thousands of people were forced to evacuate Maastricht.
In Switzerland, heavy rains last night caused lakes and rivers to rise, especially in Lucerne, where Lake Lucerne has begun to flood into the city center.
World Meteorological Organization (World Meteorological Organization, WMO) pointed out that parts of Western Europe in 2 days fell up to the equivalent of 2 months of rainfall, the soil water content is close to saturation.