By VOA News Updated July 16, 2021 07:21 AM
Officials in western Germany say heavy rains and severe flooding have killed at least 100 people, while more than a thousand people are missing.
German weather service spokesman Andreas Friedrich told CNN, “In some areas, we have not seen this much rainfall in 100 years.”
German broadcaster Deutsche Welle said most of the fatalities were in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, while 1,300 people are missing in the Ahrweiler region, southwest of Bonn, where the Ahr river, which flows into the Rhine, burst its banks.
Rescue operations were hampered by the fact that phone and internet connections were down in part of the region. Officials say the flooding also disrupted rail lines and shipping on the Rhine River.
Aerial video of the area shows houses swept away as well as roads and bridges. In Schuld, in southern Ahrweiler county, police say several houses have collapsed. Officials say other structures are also in danger of collapsing.
Emergency workers and soldiers have been deployed to rescue people, some of them stranded on rooftops.
Heavy flooding has also been reported in Belgium, Luxembourg, France and the Netherlands.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in the United States for meetings with President Joe Biden, said in a statement she was shocked by the extent of the damage and loss of life, and expressed her sympathies to the families of those killed or missing.
North Rhine-Westphalia Premier Armin Laschet visited the area and told reporters that officials do not know exactly how many victims there are from the flooding. Laschet is the conservative candidate running to succeed Merkel.