Heavy rains caused flooding in regions of West Germany, affecting the region of Ahrweiler (Rheinland-Pfalz). In the town Schuld (Nordrhein-Westfalen), several buildings collapsed with others prone to collapse.
The town of Hagen is also affected, near Wuppertal a dam overflow – subsequently towns around Steinbachtalsperre in Euskirchen were evacuated.
Dozens of people are missing, 33 deaths have been reported so far.
Forecasts suggest more heavy rain is due in much of Germany and Belgium on Thursday and Friday.
Much of the flooding was triggered when the Ahr river, which flows into the Rhine, burst its banks south of Bonn.
Malu Dreyer, chief of the Rhineland-Palatinate state, described the flooding as a “catastrophe”.
“There are dead, missing and many people still in danger,” she said. “All of our emergency services are in action round the clock and risking their own lives.”
Police helicopters and the army have been deployed to some areas to help stranded residents.
At least 200.000 people are without electricity. The weather related damages in Germany in 2021 so far are possibly the most expensive since at least 2013.
The entire Ahrtal is flooded, below a picture of Dernau. The flooding is so severe it broke the old record by more than 2 meters.
Several buildings collapsed in the town of Pepinster, Belgium.
Teaser image: CHRISTOPH REICHWEIN/TNN/DPA