At least six people have died and 50 more are missing after torrential rain triggered flash flooding across parts of western Europe.
Two firefighters were among five people reported dead in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, in western Germany, with dozens more missing after the houses they were sheltering in were swept away.
At least one person died in eastern Belgium amid the downpours, with another reported missing.
Meanwhile Dutch emergency services said they had to evacuate a care home and hospice overnight Wednesday due to flooding, though luckily nobody was injured.
Police in the western German city of Koblenz said four people had died in Ahrweiler county, and about 50 were trapped on the roofs of their houses awaiting rescue.
Six houses collapsed overnight in the village of Schuld and ‘many people have been reported missing to us,’ police said.
Authorities have declared an emergency in the region after three months’ worth of rain fell in just three days, starting Tuesday.
Large parts of western and central Germany, as well as neighbouring countries have experienced widespread damage.
Police said an 82-year-old man died after a fall in his flooded basement in the western city of Wuppertal, which was among the hardest-hit.
A fireman drowned on Wednesday during rescue work in the western town of Altena, and another man is missing in the eastern town of Joehstadt after trying to secure his property from rising waters, authorities said.
Relentless rain through the night also worsened the flooding conditions in eastern Belgium, where one person was reported drowned.
Some towns saw water levels rise to unprecedented levels and saw their centres turned into gushing rivers.
Major roads were inundated and in the south and east of the nation, the railway service said all traffic was stopped and that ‘alternative transport is highly unlikely’.
In eastern Eupen, on the German border, one man was reported dead after he was swept away by a torrent, a local governor told RTBf network.
In Liege, the Meuse river could break its banks by early afternoon and spill into the heart of the city. Police warned residents to take precautionary measures.
Authorities in the southern Dutch town of Valkenburg, close to the German and Belgian borders, evacuated a care home and hospice overnight amid flooding that turned the tourist town’s main street into a river, Dutch media reported.
An unknown number of houses in the southern province of Limburg were hit by flooding as rivers burst their banks.
There were no reports of injuries linked to flooding in the Netherlands.
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