European flooding leaves at least 100 dead and 1,300 still missing

There has been record rainfall in Germany and Belgium causing rivers there to flood into residential areas. At present the death toll is 120 but another 1,300 people are still missing.

Entire villages have been destroyed, and officials in the western German district of Ahrweiler say up to 1,300 people are unaccounted for.

Gregor Jericho, a resident of Rheinbach in North Rhine-Westphalia, told the BBC: “It’s a very sad scene. Streets, bridges and some buildings are destroyed. There’s garbage everywhere.

“Parts of buildings are in the road, people are sitting and crying. It’s so sad. People have lost their homes, their cars are in fields flooded. My city looks like a battle has taken place.”

In the same town, Ansgar Rehbein told Reuters he saw the river’s water level rising so rapidly that he had to immediately get out of his house.

“Once the river started overflowing and the water came down from the hillside, it was a matter of two minutes before the courtyard was flooded with waist-high water,” he told the news agency.

This report from France 24 includes an interview with a man who compares the damage in his town to World War II.

One reason some people may be thinking about WWII, when the water started rising, flood sirens were set off which sound a lot like air raid sirens:

In addition to the damage from the flooding, many areas have lost power and cell phone service. One reporter who was in one of the impacted towns said it was a rainstorm that just didn’t stop.

By Wednesday evening it had been raining in our village in Germany’s mountainous Eifel region for 24 hours straight. Really raining. It was like an endless thunderstorm, just without the thunder and lightning.

As I drove to the post office in Bad Münstereifel at around 5:30 p.m., considerable amounts of water were already streaming down the hillside and across the road. I thought to myself: I’m curious to see how this develops.

By the time I made my return journey a mere 30 minutes later, much of the road had already started to flood — so much so that I briefly hesitated. I got by with two wheels up on the curb, carefully passing the inundated section, but it was a close call. Another half an hour and I wouldn’t have made it home.

There is lots more video showing the scope of the flooding and the damage. This clip shows people rescuing a firefighter who was swept away by the water:

This drone footage really gives you a sense of the scope of this:

This is from Belgium:

Finally, here’s a report from Deutsche Welle which includes interviews with some homeowners and rescue workers.