The heavy rains and storms that hit western Germany since Tuesday have left a balance in the last hours of at least 42 dead and dozens missing, according to the latest data from the authorities of the affected regions.
The storm has particularly affected the federal states of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous in the country, and Rhineland-Palatinate, where it has caused flooding and the collapse of buildings. The storm has also affected the eastern part of Belgium, where six other people have died.
Among the dead are two firefighters. One drowned after falling into the water and another as a result of a collapse suffered while carrying out rescue work.
“We live in Rhineland-Palatinate about catastrophic floods. We are a region used to floods but what we are experiencing is a catastrophe, “said the Prime Minister of that federal state, Malu Dreyer.
“We’re fighting to save people. The damages in the municipalities are immense, “he added.
The municipality of Ahrweiler, about 50 kilometers from Bonn, is one of the most affected. There have been four deaths and six buildings have fallen as a result of the deterioration caused by the rains and more than twenty are in danger.
The number of missing reported so far is 70.
The German Weather Service (DWD) expects the rains to subside. “There may still be heavy rain in some places but it won’t be as widespread as last night,” said Markus Mannital of the DWD.
The floods have forced to cut electrical service in several municipalities to avoid short circuits and rail transport in the region has also been affected.
In the city of Cologne, the Rhine has overflowed and has flooded part of the Deutz district.
North Rhine-Westphalia Interior Minister Herbert Reul called the situation “extremely difficult”.
Since Tuesday there is a rescue equipment device in which 3,900 people have participated who have had to intervene in different places on nearly 2,000 occasions.
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