Germany, Belgium flooding death toll reaches 160, hundreds missing

Devastation from the floods in a German village (Photo: AFP)

Another 43 individuals were reported killed in Germany's most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia. Hundreds of people remain unaccounted for.

Authorities said a dam broke late Friday in the town of Wassenberg near Cologne, evacuating over 700 people.

Although the waters had receded throughout many of the impacted areas by Saturday, officials were concerned that more bodies would be discovered in swept-away automobiles and trucks.

The floodwaters have cut off entire communities from power and communications over the last few days.

Parts of Belgium and the Netherlands have also been flooded. According to the national crisis center, which is coordinating the rescue effort, the death toll in Belgium has risen to 24.

In a statement, the center added, "Unfortunately, we have to assume that this figure will continue to rise in the coming hours and days," Around 20 persons remain unaccounted for.

On Saturday, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and North Rhine-Westphalia State Premier Armin Laschet were set to visit Erftstadt, one of the worst-affected municipalities.

In the general election in September, Laschet is the candidate of the ruling CDU party. The floods' damage may exacerbate the discussion over climate change in the run-up to the election.

Climate change, according to scientists, will result in higher rains. However, scientists cautioned on Friday that identifying its influence in the torrential rains will take at least several weeks of analysis.

Publish : 2021-07-17 21:04:00

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