European flood death toll rises past 150

European flood death toll rises past 150
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Overwhelming flooding in Western Europe caused by days of heavy rainfall has killed more than 150 people as of Saturday, with the death toll expected to increase further as receding waters begin to reveal the true extent of the damage. 

Germany’s western Ahrweiler county, one of the areas worst-hit by flooding this week, reported a death toll of more than 90 people as of Saturday, according to The Associated Press

The report comes after authorities in the Rhineland-Palatinate state, where Ahrweiler is located, had reported a death toll of 63 just one day prior

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In Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia, a total of 43 people have been confirmed dead as a result of the flooding, the AP reported. 

In Belgium, the total death toll is now at 24, though officials said this number is likely to increase. 

At least three houses and part of a mansion in the German town of Erftstadt collapsed Friday due to the flooding, prompting authorities to launch rescue efforts to locate people trapped inside. 

The AP reported that German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is expected to travel to Erftstadt Saturday. 

Belgian state broadcaster RTBF reported that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo were also expected to visit towns devastated by the flooding. 

Von der Leyen said in a Thursday tweet that the European Union was “ready to help” in the responses to the flooding, adding “My thoughts are with the families of the victims of the devastating floods in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands and those who have lost their homes.” 

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The AP reported that the German military began using armored vehicles Saturday to clear away cars and trucks that had been overtaken and pushed along by flood waters, with officials also looking to restore power and telephone service in certain areas. 

While Germany and Belgium have been hit the hardest by the severe flooding, parts of the Netherlands and Luxembourg have also been impacted. 

The Netherlands’ prime minister, Mark Rutte, said Friday that the region hit by flooding this week has been impacted by “three disasters.” 

“First, there was corona, now these floods, and soon people will have to work on cleanup and recovery,” he said, according to the AP. “It is disaster after disaster after disaster.”