At least eleven people have died and dozens are still missing in western Germany following torrential rain and flooding overnight Wednesday.
Six houses collapsed in the village of Schuld in the wine-growing, hilly Eifel region in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Authorities say at least 70 people are currently missing and a further 25 buildings in the village are at risk of caving in.
In response to offers of help from the public, Koblenz Police have asked people to stay away from the Eifel’s Ahrweiler region, but to upload any footage of the floods to social media to help them locate the missing.
Many residents are waiting to be evacuated from their rooftops, but flooding and landslide means roads to some villages in the region are no longer accessible. Regional authorities have declared a state of emergency and the army has been deployed.
Rhineland-Palatinate’s state government is holding an emergency meeting today to address the dangers of the current situation and the operation required to clear up damage within the region.
In the neighboring state of North-Rhine Westphalia, an 82-year-old man died in his flooded basement in the city of Wuppertal. Two fire fighters also died overnight during rescue operations in the region, according to regional authorities.
North-Rhine Westphalia’s state governor Armin Laschet, who is running to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel in the September election, is due in the city of Hagen later today which has seen the worst floods in 25 years. Authorities in the city are warning residents who live near the river to leave their properties.
Transport infrastructure has also been badly effected by the rain. Most rail services running through central and western Germany have been suspended, resulting in congestion on the nation’s highways.
Parts of southern and eastern Germany have also been hit by flooding, as have neighboring countries Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
Dutch troops are aiding precautionary evacuation efforts in the southern province of Limburg as rivers are expected to burst their banks. After more than two months’ worth of rain in just 24 hours, authorities are bracing themselves for more rain today but dryer weather is expected by the weekend.