At least 93 dead in catastrophic floods

Mainz/Cologne (dpa) – So far, 93 people are known to have died in the catastrophic floods in western Germany. At least 50 people were killed in the flooding in Rhineland-Palatinate, and a further 43 in North Rhine-Westphalia. The number is likely to rise in view of the large number of missing persons.

The situation in Erftstadt-Blessem, to the south west of Cologne, was dramatic on Friday morning. Houses there were undermined by the floodwaters and collapsed. Aerial photographs distributed by the district government and photos taken by photographers show landslides of enormous proportions. Houses were swept away and disappeared.

In Rhineland-Palatinate, the district of Ahrweiler bore the brunt of the disaster. In the village of Schuld an der Ahr alone, which has 700 inhabitants, several houses were swept away by the water masses and numerous other buildings were damaged, some severely.

The damage in both federal states is immense. According to Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU), the federal government is planning an aid programme. Currently on a visit to the USA, Chancellor Merkel sought to reassure those affected: “We will not leave them alone in this difficult, terrible hour and will also provide help when it comes to rebuilding.” The chancellor said that she was being continuously informed about the situation in the flooded areas.

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