German floods kill at least 133 people, search for survivors continues | Voice of America
FRANKFURT – Rescuers searched for survivors in flood-ravaged areas of western Germany on Saturday, as water levels remained high in many towns and houses continued to collapse in the flooding. the country’s worst natural disaster in half a century.
At least 133 people have died in the flooding, including some 90 people in the Ahrweiler district south of Cologne, according to police estimates on Saturday. Hundreds of people are still missing.
About 700 residents were evacuated on Friday evening after a dam burst in the town of Wassenberg, near Cologne, authorities said.
In recent days, flooding, which mainly affected the states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, cut entire communities off from electricity and communications.
The floods also affected parts of Belgium and the Netherlands. At least 20 people have died in Belgium.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Armin Laschet, Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, were due to travel to Erftstadt, one of the hardest hit cities, on Saturday.
Laschet is the CDU party candidate in the September general elections. The devastation of the floods could intensify the debate on climate change ahead of the vote.
Scientists have long said that climate change will lead to heavier downpours. But determining its role in the relentless downpours will take at least several weeks of research, scientists said Friday.