Death toll from floods in Germany rises to 103 (UPDATED)
The death toll from Germany's worst floods in more than 200 years rose to 103, local news agency reported.
According to German News Agency (DPA), at least 50 people had died in Rhineland-Palatinate, the region hardest hit by the unusually severe rainstorms and flash flooding. In Ahrweiler region, located in Rhineland-Palatinate state, there are also reports that some 1,300 people are missing.
At least 31 people have died in the country’s North Rhine-Westphalia region.
The army has deployed around 850 soldiers to the hard-hit areas to assist in rescue efforts.
Many homes in the two states have collapsed and others face the risk of collapsing due to the floods, while streets are submerged.
The number of people who lost their lives in the heavy floods in the western part of Germany increased to at least 81 on Friday, according to German broadcaster ARD, in what is Germany’s worst mass loss of life in years, Reuters reported.
Around 1,300 people were missing in the Ahrweiler district south of Cologne, the district government said on Facebook. Mobile phone networks have collapsed in some of the flood-stricken regions, which means that family and friends were unable to track down their loved ones.
Entire communities lay in ruins after swollen rivers swept through towns and villages in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate.
On Friday morning, houses collapsed in Erftstadt near Cologne, and rescue crews were struggling to help residents who had returned to their houses despite the warnings, the Cologne district government said on Facebook.
It said many people were still in the houses and several were missing. A gas leak was further hampering rescue workers as they tried to reach stranded people by boat.
One dam close to the Belgium border, the Rurtalsperre, was flooded overnight while another, the Steinbachtalsperre, was unstable.
The North Rhine-Westfalia parliament will hold an emergency meeting on Friday. German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told magazine Spiegel that the federal government aimed to provide financial support for the affected regions as quickly as possible, adding it should go to the cabinet for approval on Wednesday.