icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

59 killed, 1,300 missing after catastrophic floods slam western Germany (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

59 killed, 1,300 missing after catastrophic floods slam western Germany (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)
Raging floods have killed at least 59 people and left more than 1,000 missing across multiple German states after a torrential downpour, as police officers, soldiers and other relief workers undertake a massive rescue effort.

Days of extreme weather resulted in major flooding in western Germany this week, with the death toll climbing to 59 on Thursday – 31 of which occurred in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, while another 29 victims were found in Rhineland-Palatinate, according to local media reports.

The widespread devastation was captured in photos and videos circulating online, including footage from RT’s video agency, Ruptly.

An estimated 1,300 people remain missing, as more than 1,000 police officers, firefighters, soldiers and other disaster relief workers sift through rubble in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia – the two worst-hit states – as well as in neighboring Baden-Wurttemberg. Ten helicopters were deployed during the rescue efforts, with three more outfitted with cable winches prepared to continue the search through the night.

Authorities are also still working to restore gas, electricity and water in the affected areas, while Germany’s Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) is preparing to build temporary water treatment sites in some locations.

After heavy downpours, the Steinbachtalsperre dam near the town of Euskirchen in North Rhine-Westphalia is at risk of giving way. Local authorities warned in a Facebook post that a “sudden failure… must be expected at any time,” despite efforts to keep the structure standing. At least six houses have also collapsed, with 25 more in danger of falling.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is visiting the US for a meeting with President Joe Biden, said the floods were “catastrophic,” adding that help is on the way for those affected.

“My thoughts are with you, and you can trust that all forces of our government – federal, regional and community – collectively will do everything under the most difficult conditions to save lives, alleviate dangers and to relieve distress,” she said.

Biden also offered condolences for victims, saying “It is a tragedy and our hearts are with the families who have lost loved ones.”

Merkel’s successor at the helm of Germany's ruling center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Armin Laschet, pinned the flooding on global warming, calling to step up “climate-protection measures” nationally, regionally and globally.

Around 3,500 people are now being housed in temporary care facilities around the country as the rescue and relief operations continue. 

Germany was not the only nation slammed by inclement weather. Floods have also hit Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Nine were reported killed in Belgium, according to the Belga news agency, while Dutch authorities have urged thousands of residents to flee flood-prone areas. 

The casualties in Germany are nearly three times those inflicted by major floods in 2002, which hit countries across Europe and caused massive damage.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Dear readers and commenters,

We have implemented a new engine for our comment section. We hope the transition goes smoothly for all of you. Unfortunately, the comments made before the change have been lost due to a technical problem. We are working on restoring them, and hoping to see you fill up the comment section with new ones. You should still be able to log in to comment using your social-media profiles, but if you signed up under an RT profile before, you are invited to create a new profile with the new commenting system.

Sorry for the inconvenience, and looking forward to your future comments,

RT Team.