Speed Reads

natural disasters

Extreme flooding leaves more than 65 people dead in Germany and Belgium

Severe flooding in Germany and Belgium on Thursday has left more than 65 people dead, with dozens missing.

Most of the deaths have been reported in Germany, including nine that occurred at an assisted living facility for people with disabilities. 

Heavy rains filled reservoirs and caused rivers to overflow, sending water surging down streets. The full extent of the damage in both countries is unknown, as rescuers are unable to get into some villages due to debris blocking the roads. "I grieve for those who have lost their lives in this disaster," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday during a visit to the White House. "We still don't know the number. But it will be many." To say there was "heavy rain and flooding" doesn't "capture what happened," she added.

Trees and other large pieces of debris came sweeping through villages like Schuld, Germany, where cars were seen floating down the street and several older houses collapsed. People climbed onto the roofs of their homes in order to be rescued by helicopters or inflatable boats. Karl-Heinz Grimm told The Associated Press he came to Schuld to help his parents amid the flooding, and it "was like madness."

In Pepinster, Belgium, a small boat used to rescue several elderly people capsized, and three passengers fell into the water. "Unfortunately, they were quickly engulfed," Mayor Philippe Godin said. "I fear they are dead."

No deaths have been reported in France, but heavy rains have flooded vegetable fields, houses, and the World War I museum in Romagne-sous-Montfaucon. The country's weather service said the equivalent of two months of rain has fallen over the last two days.