Floods in Germany and Belgium: 126 dead and 1,300 missing

Floods in Germany and Belgium: 126 dead and 1,300 missing
Floods in Germany and Belgium: 126 dead and 1,300 missing

Officials warned that German and Belgian localities were "still in danger" and German Chancellor Angela Merkel expects "many" new deaths from floods. - 23 deaths in Belgium and 103 in Germany confirmed.

At least 126 people have died and dozens have gone missing after catastrophic floods in Germany and Belgium cut off several villages from the world and raised fears that a dam could be breached.

After Thursday's disaster, officials have warned that communities in both countries are "still in danger" and German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expecting "many" more deaths amid warnings of further downpours on Friday.

The total death toll in Germany alone has risen to at least 103, according to Reuters, citing official sources. Residents of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate were affected.

Among the hardest hit areas is Ahrweiler County, south of Cologne, where several houses collapsed in the village of Schuld, and authorities say some 1,300 people are missing.

In Belgium, where authorities warned residents in the southern and eastern regions to refrain from travel, 23 deaths were recorded.

"The waters are rising higher and higher. It's scary," said 52-year-old Thierry Bourgeois in the Belgian city of Liege.

Belgian authorities are short of key equipment to deal with floods of this magnitude, Elio Di Rupo, president of the Belgian region of Wallonia, said Friday after record rainfall overflowed rivers.

“Given the scale of the disaster, neither the army nor the civil defense had the necessary materials,” Di Rupo said in an interview with the Belgian broadcaster RTBF.

He stressed that the army needs small watercraft "two to three times more powerful."

“The fact that we were unable to reach the stuck people - last night, I repeat, there were hundreds of people that we physically could not reach - is a lesson we must learn,” he said.

In the north, in Erftstadt, near Cologne, several houses collapsed on Friday morning, and rescuers tried to reach residents by boats. The roads around the town of Erftstadt were impassable as they had been washed away by the flood.

It was unclear if there were any casualties, as rescuers had to rely on radios to transmit information.

"The system has completely collapsed. Infrastructure collapsed. Hospitals cannot accept anyone. Nursing homes had to be evacuated," the spokeswoman said.

One dam near the Belgian border, Rurtalsperre, was flooded, while the other, Steinbachtalsperre, was reinforced early Friday. About 4,500 people were evacuated from downstream communities, and a section of the A61 motorway was closed for fear of a breakout.

The German military has dispatched over 700 soldiers to the two affected lands to assist with rescue efforts.

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