Dozens Die As Flooding Hits Germany, Netherlands, Belgium


By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent reporting from the

(Worthy News) – Dozens of people were dead Thursday as the worst flooding in years struck parts of the low-lying seafaring Netherlands as well as nearby and Belgium.

Most deaths were reported in Germany, where at least 42 people died, and dozens of people were missing, authorities said early Thursday.

Heavy flooding caused by days of rainfall turned streams and streets into raging torrents, sweeping away cars and causing some buildings to collapse.

Authorities in Germany’s western county of Euskirchen said eight deaths had been reported there in connection with the floods. Rescue operations were hampered as phone and connections were down in part of the region, southwest of Cologne.

in the western city of Koblenz said four people had died in Ahrweiler county, and about 50 were trapped on the roofs of their houses awaiting rescue.

Police said four people died in separate incidents after their basements were flooded in Cologne, Kamen, and Wuppertal, where authorities warned that a dam threatened to burst.

EVACUATION ORDERED

Authorities in the Rhine-Sieg county south of Cologne ordered the evacuation of several villages below the Steinbachtal reservoir amid fears the dam there could also break.

Earlier, a fireman reportedly drowned Wednesday during rescue work in the western German town of Altena, and another collapsed during rescue operations at a power plant in Werdohl-Elverlingsen. One man was missing in the eastern city of Joehstadt after disappearing while trying to secure his property from rising waters, authorities said.

Six houses had collapsed overnight in the village of Schuld. “Many people have been reported missing to us,” police said. Schuld is located in the Eifel, a volcanic region of rolling hills and small valleys southwest of Cologne.

The full extent of the damage in the region was still unclear after many villages were cut off by floodwater and landslides that made roads impassable. Videos posted on social showed cars floating down streets and houses partly collapsed in some places.

In neighboring the Netherlands, the river Maas in southern Limburg province reached its highest level in 100 years, with hospices and hospitals forced to evacuate residents.

FOOD SHORTAGES

The Dutch rushed to Valkenburg to help evacuate visible distraught residents, including from a care center and other areas. Mayor Daan Prevoo said his central Limburg town of roughly 17,000 people was cut off from the outside world.

Authorities feared food shortages, and hundreds of households in the region were without electricity.

Relentless rains also worsened the flooding conditions in eastern Belgium, where several people drowned.

Some towns saw water levels rise to unprecedented levels and had their centers turned into gushing rivers.

The flooding has underscored a need to improve further as many people live in cities located near rivers. In the Netherlands, many parts are below sea level.

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