Surprisingly, two months of rain fell in two days
Unlike the usual weather in Europe, very dangerous and turbulent weather has hit the continent for days, resulting in rain, floods and storms, which led to power and communications cuts, and dozens of victims were killed in addition to the missing, according to European newspapers.
Floods in Germany and Belgium have left more than 150 dead and hundreds missing, with top officials blaming climate change.
At least 153 people have now been confirmed dead after “historic rare” floods in Europe, especially in Germany and Belgium, with fears of an increase in the number of victims, as rescuers search for hundreds who are still missing.
Amid scenes of desperation in both countries, emergency workers toil to find survivors, clear the rubble and prevent further damage.
But fears remain that more devastation could occur, with dams along one river from Belgium to the Netherlands and a dam in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia said to be at risk of collapsing.
The hardest-hit areas include some of the most prosperous in Europe, with stunning footage from near Frankfurt showing an entire house that collapsed with its water swept into the Ahr River.
Floods swept Germany
In many places, cars have been flipped upside down, power grids have collapsed and buildings have collapsed as floodwaters flow through villages such as Schulde, south of Bonn, in western Germany.
According to reports, the vast majority of those killed are in Germany, where 133 people were killed.
Police said more than 90 people are now known to have died in the western German province of Arweiler, one of the worst-hit areas, and more casualties are feared.
On Friday, authorities announced 63 deaths in the entire state of Rhineland-Palatinate, where Ahrweiler is located.
Floods affected large areas of Western Europe
43 people were confirmed killed in neighboring North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, and 20 more were killed across the border in Belgium.
State Premier Armin Laschet said the floods were a “disaster of historic proportions”, while German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he was “shocked” by the disaster.
“The floods swept away the land from under the feet of many people. They lost their homes, farms or businesses,” Lachet told reporters.
In Irfstadt, southwest of Cologne, 50 people were rescued after the landslides collapsed under their homes, official Frank Rock told local stations.
Aerial images showed a massive landslide in a gravel pit on the outskirts of the town.
“One has to assume that under these circumstances, some people were unable to escape,” said Rock.
In Belgium, 27 deaths have been confirmed and Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden said another 20 people are missing, and the country has declared a day of mourning.
Ferlinden added that dams on the Meuse, which stretches from Belgium to the Netherlands, are also at risk of collapsing.
About 200 patients have been evacuated from a hospital in the Dutch town of Venlo as a precaution.
Thousands of people in the Dutch province of Limburg were also ordered to leave early Friday morning.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has announced some of the affected areas to free up special emergency funds.
Meteorologists said that some regions of Western Europe were subjected to rains, which usually fall in two months.
Blame those responsible for the climate
Several senior officials have blamed climate change for the disaster.
“Climate change is not an abstract anymore. We are experiencing its pain up close,” said Mallo Dreyer, Governor of Rhineland-Palatinate.
She stated that this showed the need to expedite work on this issue.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said it showed decisive action was the only way to “reduce the extreme weather conditions we are experiencing now”.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has been in the US but is due to visit Schuld – one of the worst-hit villages – on Sunday.