Flood death toll rises to 156 in Germany, 183 for Europe: police

Members of the German armed forces searched for flood victims in Erftstadt on Saturday. PHOTO: SEBASTIEN BOZON/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
Members of the German armed forces searched for flood victims in Erftstadt on Saturday.
PHOTO: SEBASTIEN BOZON/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

The death toll from devastating floods in Germany reached 156 in Germany, police said Sunday morning, bringing the total to at least 183 fatalities from the disaster in western Europe.

Some 143 people died in the flooding in Germany’s worst natural disaster in more than half a century.

That included about 98 in the Ahrweiler district south of Cologne, according to police.

Hundreds of people were still missing or unreachable as several areas were inaccessible due to high water levels while communication in some places was still down.

In Rhineland-Palatinate state alone, one of the worst-hit regions in western Germany, police-reported 110 dead, up from 98 previously. One person also died in floods in southern Germany, which was hit by torrential rains on Saturday.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Erftstadt in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where the disaster killed at least 45 people.

“We mourn with those that have lost friends, acquaintances, family members,” he said.

“Their fate is ripping our hearts apart.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to travel today to Rhineland Palatinate, the state that is home to the devastated village of Schuld.

In Belgium, the death toll rose to 27, according to the national crisis centre, which is coordinating the relief operation there.

It added that 103 people were “missing or unreachable”.

Some were likely unreachable because they could not recharge mobile phones or were in hospital without identity papers, the centre said.

Input from agencies