(CMR) Over 40 people have been killed and many others missing as heavy rains lashed western Europe on Thursday. Heavy rains caused reservoirs to break open, flooding several villages and causing some buildings to collapse and trapping people on their roofs.
Swift-moving water from swollen rivers surged through cities and villages in three western German states, the hardest-hit region. In Belgium, the regional authorities ordered the nearly 200,000 inhabitants of Liège to evacuate the city, warning that the Meuse River, which flows through its center, was about to burst its banks, New York Times reported.
At least eights deaths occurred in the German region of Euskirchen, 18 died in Ahrweiler county, and 70 are missing from the village of Schuld, authorities have reported. German officials have deployed 200 soldiers to help with rescue efforts.
“My sympathy goes to the relatives and of the dead and missing,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
Dozens of communities were left without power, while some villages were cut off entirely. Telephone and cellphone networks were also down, making it more difficult for the authorities to establish who was missing.
Neighboring Belgium and the Netherlands also experienced significant flooding as the weather system made its way across the region. There were also reports of at least two deaths. The European Union said it was ready to assist the affected.
“My thoughts are with the families of the victims of the devastating floods in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands and those who have lost their homes,” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted. “The EU is ready to help.”