THE death toll in the flooding that has hit Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands has now reached 42 – with three killed when they were trapped in their basements.
A further 70 people are missing after apocalyptic storms turned streets into raging torrents of water and led to houses collapsing.
In Cologne, a 72-year-old woman and a 54-year-old man died when their basements flooded while another drowned in his cellar in Solingen.
In Leverkusen, 468 people were taken out from a hospital after floods cut off power, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Two German firefighters drowned during a rescue operation in North Rhine Westphalia, DPA news agency reports.
Large chunks of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine Westphalia are under water while villages in Belgium’s Liege province were been evacuated due rising river levels.
Belgium news outlet VRT NWS quoted the mayor of Pepinster, a small town of around 10,000 people in the Liege province, who said dozens of houses collapsed along the Vesdre River that flows through the area.
VRT NWS also confirmed that the body of a 50-year-old man was found in the basement of his house in Aywaille.
Meanwhile, 433 homes are without electricity in the southern Dutch province of Limburg due heavy rainfall, according to DutchNews.nl.
Back in Germany, at least eight are dead and as many as 25 more homes in the Ahrweiler district are reportedly in danger of suddenly collapsing, while six have already crumbled, local police said Thursday morning.
Residents have been seen using shovels and excavators to clear mounds of stones and earth from main roads.
In neighbouring North Rhine Westphalia, at least 13 people are confirmed dead with bodies found scattered in several places across the Eifel valleys.
Flooding has caused major damage to properties and forced authorities to close off large portions of motorway leading in and around the inundated areas.
A police spokesman in Koblenz, Rhineland-Palatinate, said that up to 70 people are missing, Bild reports.
Some 50 people trapped on their roofs have been rescued, a local police official said.
The situation in the rural area of Eifelkreis Bitburg-Prum has been described as “extremely dangerous” after eight death were reported.
Homes within a 50-metre radius of the Ahr River have been urgently evacuated.
Residents were seen climbing onto the roofs of their homes in a desperate attempt to be rescued by helicopters.
Rescuers have also become trapped in some parts due to the strong current of floodwaters.
“There are many places where fire brigades and rescue workers have been deployed. We don’t yet have a very precise picture because rescue measures are continuing,” a police spokesperson said.
Environment official Bernd Mehlig told WDR: “We see this kind of situation only in winter ordinarily.
“Something like this, with this intensity, is completely unusual in summer.”
The storm system dumped 148 litres of rain per square metre within 48 hours in parts of Germany that usually see 80 litres during the whole of July.
Source:- The Sun Uk