At least 80 dead and 1,300 unaccounted for due to flooding in Germany. Watch video

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Friday, July 16, 2021, 04:48 PM IST
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German emergency responders are still searching for hundreds of missing people | AFP Twitter feed

Berlin: Flooding in the German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia due to torrential rainfall has left at least 80 people dead and dozens missing, local media reported on Friday.

The death toll in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate has increased to 50, and "the fear is that there will be more", said a police spokesman in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate.

According to figures previously released by the Interior Department of North Rhine-Westphalia, at least 30 people died in the state as a result of the disastrous weather, Xinhua news agency.

"I fear that we will only see the full extent of the disaster in the coming days," Chancellor Angela Merkel said from Washington, where she met with President Joe Biden.

The town of "Schuld an der Ahr" in the Rhineland-Palatinate state was the worst hit, with some houses destroyed by the floods, and several other counties have also been badly affected, according to the report.

In the devastated Ahrweiler district of Rhineland-Palatinate around 1,300 people were unaccounted for, although local authorities told Bild the high number was likely down to damaged phone networks.

Regional interior minister Roger Lewentz told broadcaster SWR that "we believe there are still 40, 50 or 60 people missing, and when you haven't heard for people for such a long time... you have to fear the worst."

Clean-up and recovery work is still underway and soldiers have arrived in the affected areas to support rescue efforts. Some 15,000 police, soldiers and emergency service workers are at the scene to aid with search and rescue, while helicopters picked stranded residents from roof tops and tanks cleared roads of fallen trees and debris.

Neighbouring Belgium counted at least nine dead, while Luxembourg and the Netherlands were also severely affected by the torrents of water, with thousands evacuated in the city of Maastricht.

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