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Floods: 8 dead, many missing in Germany, 2 die in Belgium

Christian Fernsby |
At least eight people have died and dozens of people are missing in Germany after heavy flooding turned streams and streets into raging torrents, sweeping away cars and causing some buildings to collapse.

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

Six houses had collapsed overnight in the village of Schuld. “Many people have been reported missing to us,” police said.

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 media showed cars floating down streets and houses partly collapsed in some places.

Authorities have declared an emergency in the region after days of heavy rainfall that also affected large parts of western and central Germany, as well as neighboring countries, causing widespread damage.

Police said two men, aged 77 and 82, died after their basements were flooded in the western cities of Kamen and Wuppertal, where authorities warned that a dam threatened to burst.

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.

A fireman 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 town of Joehstadt after disappearing while trying to secure his property from rising waters, authorities said.

Rail connections were suspended in large parts of North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany's most populous state.

German weather service DWD predicted the rainfall would ease Thursday.

In Liege, the main city in eastern Belgium, the Meuse river could break its banks by early afternoon and spill into the heart of the city. Police warned the citizens to take precautionary measures.

Authorities in the southern Dutch town of Valkenburg, close to the German and Belgian borders, evacuated a care home and a hospice overnight amid flooding that turned the tourist town’s main street into a river, Dutch media reported.


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