On Thursday, several European countries were hit by torrential rains that caused floods and house collapses, especially in Germany, where there are already at least 42 deaths, according to the latest official tally.
In Belgium, the storm left at least four people dead, and significant material damage was also recorded in Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
Heavy rains that lasted for hours caused a catastrophic situation in the countries, flooding, blocking roads and damming a dam that had to be reinforced at the risk of collapsing due to water pressure.
In Germany, the storm mainly affected the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous in the country, and the Rhineland-Palatinate.
Municipal authorities in Ahrwaler, in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, confirmed that four people had died and 30 had disappeared. Two firefighters working on rescue missions were also killed.
In this municipality, rain has caused at least six buildings to collapse, while twenty others are in an unstable condition.
And in the city of Hagen, whose streets reach the hips, according to eyewitnesses, the electricity service was cut off preemptively to avoid a short circuit.
Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia and candidate to succeed Angela Merkel in the chancellery, Armin Laschet, will visit Hagen today.
In that city a nursing home had to be evacuated after the first floor was flooded.
In Düsseldorf, the Grafenberg district had to be evacuated and a motorway was closed after a tunnel was flooded. Rail transport in the area has also been affected.
In Cologne, the Rhine overflowed and submerged part of the Deutz region.
North Rhine-Westphalia’s Interior Minister Herbert Ruhl described the situation as “extremely difficult”.
Since Tuesday, there has been a rescue team with 3,900 people involved, who have had to intervene in various places on about 2,000 occasions.
For its part in Belgium, the region most affected is the Wallonia region, in particular the provinces of Liège (east) and Luxembourg (south). Two of the deaths occurred in the towns of Eupin and Aiuel, both in Liege, as confirmed by local authorities, Le Soir daily reported.
The status of the Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium Liege in red. Parts of many major highways and rail traffic in southern and eastern Belgium have been paralyzed. The rail service said it was “unlikely” to find an alternative mode of transport.
In Spa (Liege), a national tourist destination famous for its hot springs, the city center was completely flooded, as in Rochefort, in Namur, while in Pepinster (Liege) dozens of houses were flooded.
The residents of the various Walloon cities had to be evacuated, as well as hundreds of young people who were in summer camps.
The Belgian authorities asked residents of the worst-affected regions, especially Liège and Luxembourg in the south, Be very careful and avoid any unnecessary displacement.
Also in Luxembourg, the rains caused serious disturbances that were assessed this morning at a meeting of the country’s crisis cell.
Although the weather has calmed down in the last hours, this Thursday the risk of rising water continues يستمر, the Luxembourg Ministry of the Interior stated in a statement, that Residents are recommended to be “vigilant” and to avoid exposing themselves to risks.
Heavy than usual rains have also caused flooding in northeastern France this week.
Some areas saw the equivalent of two months of rain in a day or two, according to the French Meteorological Service. With the ground already saturated, the agency forecast more rainfall Thursday and activated flood alerts in 10 regions.
(With information from EFE and AP)