Europe Floods Kill 130, Over 1,000 Missing


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By Stefan J. Bos reporting from Ootmarsum, the

(Worthy News) – At least 130 people were confirmed dead, and as many as 1,300 people remained missing as devastating floods hit , Belgium, and the Netherlands.

Most victims were reported in Germany, as rainfall caused rivers to burst their banks.

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

Hospitals, care centers, and hospices were among those sites being evacuated. For many, help has come too late.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he was “stunned” by the devastation caused by the flooding.

He pledged support to the families of those killed and to cities and towns facing significant damage.

HOUR OF NEED

Steinmeier said that “in this hour of need, the country stands together” and that it was essential “to show solidarity for those from whom the flood has taken everything.”

Authorities in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate said at least 60 people had died there, including at least nine residents of an assisted living facility for people with disabilities.

In neighboring, North Rhine-Westphalia state officials put the death toll at 43 but warned that the figure could rise further.

Rescuers were rushing Friday to help people trapped in their homes in the town of Erftstadt, southwest of Cologne.

Regional authorities said several people had died after their houses collapsed due to subsidence, and aerial pictures showed what appeared to be a massive sinkhole.

Authorities announced late Thursday that about 1,300 people in Germany were still listed missing. They cautioned that the high figure could be due to duplication of data and difficulties reaching people because of disrupted roads and phone connections.

BELGIAN DEVASTATION

There were also similar scenes of devastation in Belgium, where nearly two dozen others died, the government said. Here in the Netherlands, a low-lying seafaring nation, the southern province of Limburg was particularly hard hit.

The government declared the south of Limburg a disaster area, with forces evacuating several areas. Dutch King Willem Alexander expressed his concern. With Queen Maxima standing at his side, he said his “thoughts go out to those struggling with the rising waters in Limburg.”

He also remembered “the many victims in Germany and Belgium.” Hundreds of Dutch soldiers were involved in the massive operation as the nation faces the worst flooding in years. Many homes were flooded here.

The flooding was used by German Chancellor and other politicians to debate what they view as dangerous climate change.

Not everyone agrees. However, friends and foes agreed that the growing number of people living in low-lying areas, near rivers or below sea level, require better water management.

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