There are deaths and missing in several areas of western Germany due to heavy rains, floods and flooding which resulted in landslides, disruption of road and rail traffic, and the collapse of six Schuld houses in Rhineland-Palatinate. German newspapers report at least 20 dead, including firefighters: some of the bodies were found only after the floodwaters began to recede. The people missing in Rhineland-Palatinate are between 50 and 70. Many other dozen have been forced to take refuge on the roofs of their homes awaiting help.
About 200,000 homes were left without electricity and some areas of the country without drinking water. To the south of Cologne, the evacuation of several towns was ordered due to the risk of a dam collapse.
Euskirchen, in North Rhine-Westphalia, appears to be one of the most affected areas, also because rescue operations are hampered by the interruption of telephone connections: “Currently we have an unclear number of people on the roofs who need to be rescued,” said one spokesman for the Koblenz police: “We do not yet have a very precise picture because the rescue is continuing.” The meteorological service of Germany has made it known that in the south-western areas there could be severe thunderstorms even today and until Friday evening.
In Vulkaneifel, in Rhineland-Palatinate, a state of emergency was declared: “The situation is very serious, we have many flooded roads and villages that are no longer accessible,” the local administration said. The state of emergency will allow the military to join the rescue. For now, the German army has sent over 230 soldiers to help clear and clean up the flood-affected roads. “We have never seen such a disaster. It is simply devastating, ”said Malu Dreyer, who heads the regional government. A minute of silence was held on Thursday morning at the state parliament of Rhineland-Palatinate for those affected by the floods: “There are dead, there are missing, there are many who are still in danger,” added Dreyer.
Due to the severe weather, the situation is also critical in Belgium (where there are currently two deaths), in Luxembourg, in some areas of the Netherlands and in parts of France. “The EU is ready to help,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote on Twitter.