Floods in Germany: Hundreds Missing and Scores Dead in Western Europe

[Follow our live coverage of the floods in Europe]

BERLIN — Following a day of frantic rescue efforts and orders to evacuate cities quickly filling with water unloosed by violent storms, the German authorities stated late Thursday that after confirming scores of deaths, they have been unable to account for at the least 1,300 folks.

That staggering determine was introduced after swift-moving water from swollen rivers surged by means of cities and villages in two western German states, the place the loss of life toll handed 90 on Friday in the hardest-hit areas and different fatalities have been anticipated.

With communication badly hampered, the authorities have been hoping that the lacking folks have been protected, if unreachable. But the storms and the floods have already proved lethal.

At least 11 extra folks have been reported to have died in Belgium, based on authorities who additionally ordered inhabitants of downtown Liège to evacuate because the Meuse River, which flows by means of its heart, overflowed its banks.

The storms and ensuing excessive water additionally battered neighboring Switzerland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg as a slow-moving climate system threatened to dump much more rain on the inundated area in a single day and into Friday.

The devastation attributable to the extreme climate got here simply days after the European Union introduced an ambitious blueprint to pivot away from fossil fuels over the next nine years, as part of plans to make the 27-country bloc carbon-neutral by 2050. Environmental activists and politicians were quick to draw parallels between the flooding and the effects of climate change.

But the immediate focus on Thursday remained the rescue efforts, with hundreds of firefighters, emergency responders and soldiers working to save people from the upper floors and rooftops of their homes, fill sandbags to stem the rising water and search for the missing.

The flooding in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate was some of the worst in decades, after several days of steady rain dumped more water than could be absorbed by the ground and sewage systems.

The authorities reported at least 43 deaths in North Rhine-Westphalia, where at least 15 people were known to have died in the district of Euskirchen, south of Düsseldorf. Many others were still being rescued, although some villages remained unreachable.

Ms. Merkel, who was visiting Washington Thursday, expressed her condolences to those who had lost loved ones and thanked the thousands of helpers. She pledged the support of the German government for the affected regions.

“Everything that can be done, wherever we can help, we will do that,” she said, adding that Germany had received offers of help from its European partners.

Hundreds of firefighters worked through the night to evacuate people who had been left stranded. Two firefighters died while trying to rescue people in Altena, in North Rhine-Westphalia, the police said.

“The water is still flowing knee-high through the streets, parked cars are thrown sideways, and trash and debris are piling up on the sides,” Alexander Bange, the district spokesman in the Märkische region of North Rhine-Westphalia, told the German news agency D.P.A.

“It is really very depressing here,” he said.

Megan Specia contributed reporting.

Source link Nytimes.com

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