At least 100 people have died in devastating floods across parts of western Germany and Belgium, officials said on Friday, as rescue operations and the search for hundreds still unaccounted for continued.
Authorities in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate said 50 people had died there, including at least nine residents of an assisted living facility for people with disabilities. In neighboring, North Rhine-Westphalia state officials put the death toll at 43 but warned that the figure could rise further.
Rescuers were rushing on Friday to help people trapped in their homes in the town of Erftstadt, southwest of Cologne. Regional authorities said several people had died after their houses collapsed due to subsidence, and aerial pictures showed what appeared to be a massive sinkhole.
“We managed to get 50 people out of their houses last night,” said Frank Rock, the head of the county administration. “We know of 15 people who still need to be rescued.” Speaking to German broadcaster n-tv, Rock said that authorities had no precise number yet for how many had died.