Germany and Belgian flood death toll nears 100 as search continues

A firefighter inspects a destroyed car amid debris and damaged houses hit by the floods in Schuld near Bad Neuenahr, western Germany, on July 15, 2021.

Germany and Belgium are counting the cost after unprecedented flooding devastated parts of the countries (Picture: AFP)

At least 93 people have died in floods in Germany and Belgium and hundreds more are unaccounted for.

Entire towns and villages have been left devastated after unprecedented rainfall caused rivers to burst their banks.

Mobiles phone networks and internet connections have been been wiped out by the water, hampering search efforts for the missing.

Authorities in the western German state of Rhineland-Palatinate said 50 people have died there, including at least nine residents of an assisted living facility for people with disabilities.

More fatalities have been reported in neighbouring North Rhine-Westphalia, with the total death toll across the country standing at 81 but expected to rise.

Belgian broadcaster RTBF said at least 12 people have been killed.

Residents in the city of Liege, the third largest in Belgium, were told to ‘leave if you can’ by its mayor yesterday, with fears the floodwaters could rise higher still.

The river in Verviers, Belgium, burst its banks and wrecked the town (Picture: Reuters)
Homes in Schuld near Bad Neuenahr, western Germany, were left underwater and some collapsed (Picture: AFP)

Flash flooding was preceded by days of heavy rainfall which transformed rivers into torrents that swept away cars, submerged streets and caused buildings to collapse.

Germany’s leader Angela Merkel has warned ‘the full extent of this tragedy will only be seen in the coming days’.

Speaking from Washington DC where she is meeting President Joe Biden, Mrs Merkel said: ‘I grieve for those who have lost their lives in this disaster’.

Angela Merkel has braced German citizens for more bad news as rescue operations continue (Picture: AFP)

She added ‘we still don’t know the number, but it will be many’, according to Sky News.

In Ahrweiler county, which sits south of the city of Cologne, authorities have warned there are still 1,300 people unaccounted for.

A dam close to the border with Belgium was flooded overnight and another is ‘unstable’.

Malu Dreyer, governor of Rhineland-Palatinate state, said: ‘There are people dead, there are people missing, there are many who are still in danger.

‘We have never seen such a disaster. It’s really devastating.’

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