Two firefighters are among the dead in Germany following flooding across western and southern parts of the country, causing buildings to collapse. Dozens of people were left stranded on rooftops.
”In some areas we have not seen this much rainfall in 100 years,” Andreas Friedrich, a German weather service (DWD) spokesman, told CNN. He added that “in some areas we’ve seen more than double the amount of rainfall which has caused flooding and unfortunately some building structures to collapse.”
The regions of North-Rhine Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland were worst affected, Friedrich added.
Across the border in Belgium, local media reported at least two deaths in flooding there but CNN has been unable to confirm those reports.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Thursday: “My thoughts are with the families of the victims of the devastating floods in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands and with those who have lost their homes.
“The EU is ready to help. Affected countries can call on the EU Civil Protection Mechanism,” von der Leyen tweeted.
Germany’s military said in a tweet Thursday that it has deployed personnel to some of the country’s worst-affected areas.
In the western city of Koblenz, four people died and around 50 people were trapped on the rooftops of their homes waiting to be rescued, police spokesman Ulrich Sopart told CNN.
Police said two firefighters died — one in Sauerland, northeast of the city of Bonn, and the other in North-Rhine Westphalia, the country’s most populous region.
A state of emergency was declared in Hagen — a city of 180,000 in North-Rhine Westphalia — after the Volme river burst its banks.
Shipping was suspended on the river Rhine, one of Germany’s longest and most important arteries of industrial transport, according to NTV news.
Friedrich said the downpours were caused by cooler and warmer rainfall mixing. “It came from France at the beginning of the week to Germany and has been sitting over Germany for the last 48 hours,” he said.
”For now we predict the worst of the torrential rainfall is over, though more heavy rain is due in southwestern Germany on the upper reaches of the Rhine, [Thursday] and Friday,” the DWD spokesman added.