Europe flooding death toll rises over 180 as rescuers dig deeper

Published July 18, 2021
Water flows over a square in front of a house in Bischofswiesen, Germany, July 17. — AP
Water flows over a square in front of a house in Bischofswiesen, Germany, July 17. — AP
A man helps with the cleanup by carrying rubbish and debris after heavy rain and flooding along the Erft in Bad Münstereifel, Germany, July 17. — AP
A man helps with the cleanup by carrying rubbish and debris after heavy rain and flooding along the Erft in Bad Münstereifel, Germany, July 17. — AP

The death toll from flooding in Western Europe climbed above 180 on Sunday after rescue workers dug deeper into debris left by receding waters.

Police put the toll from the hard-hit Ahrweiler area of western Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate state at 110 and said they feared the number may still rise. In neighbouring North Rhine-Westphalia state, Germany’s most populous, 45 people were confirmed dead, including four firefighters. And Belgium has confirmed 27 casualties.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to visit Schuld, a village near Ahrweiler that was devastated by the flooding, later on Sunday. Her visit comes after Germany’s president went to the area on Saturday and made it clear that it will need long-term support.

There was flooding on Saturday night in the German-Czech border area, across the country from where last week’s floods hit, and in Germany’s southeastern corner and over the border in Austria.

Some 65 people were evacuated in Germany’s Berchtesgaden area after the Ache River swelled. At least one person was killed.

A flash flood swept through the nearby Austrian town of Hallein late on Saturday, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Twitter that heavy rain and storms were causing serious damage in several parts of Austria.

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