The variety of flood deaths in Europe rises because the water dwindles: NPR

A car washed up by the flood leaned against a tree near the Ahr in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler on Friday. Philipp von Ditfurth / AP hide the caption

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Philipp von Ditfurth / AP

A car washed up by the flood leaned against a tree near the Ahr in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler on Friday.

Philipp von Ditfurth / AP

BERLIN – The death toll from catastrophic flooding in Western Europe rose to over 150 on Saturday as rescue workers sought to clean up the devastation exposed by the receding water and prevent further damage.

In the west German district of Ahrweiler, one of the hardest hit areas, more than 90 people have died, the police said. More victims are feared. For the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, in which Ahrweiler is located, the authorities announced a death toll of 63 on Friday.

In the neighboring state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state in Germany, another 43 people were confirmed dead. Belgium’s national crisis center put the confirmed death toll in the country at 24 and expected the number to rise.

The death toll from floods is increasing in Germany and officials blame climate change

By Saturday, the waters receded in large parts of the affected regions and revealed the extent of the damage.

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier planned to travel to Erftstadt southwest of Cologne on Saturday, where a harrowing rescue operation took place on Friday when people were trapped when the ground gave way. At least three houses and part of a mansion in the Blessem district collapsed.

A resident cleans up on Friday after a flood in Verviers, Belgium on Friday. Francisco Seco / AP Hide caption

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Francisco Seco / AP

A resident cleans up on Friday after floods in Verviers, Belgium.

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The Bundeswehr used armored vehicles on Saturday to clear away flooded cars and trucks on a nearby road, some of which were still partially under water. Officials feared some people in Erftstadt had failed to escape, but no victims were confirmed as of Saturday morning.

In the Ahrweiler area, the police warned of a possible danger from fallen power lines and asked curious visitors to stay away. They complained on Twitter that potential tourists were blocking some streets.

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Many areas were still without electricity or telephone service – which, along with multiple censuses, appeared in some cases to be partly responsible for the large numbers of missing persons reported by authorities in the immediate aftermath of the Wednesday and Thursday floods.

Around 700 people were evacuated from part of the German city of Wassenberg on the Dutch border after a dike breached on the Rur.

Railways and roads remained closed in many areas of East Belgium. The national railway announced that traffic will return to normal on Monday.

In Erftstadt, several vehicles are inundated by floods on Saturday. Michael Probst / AP Hide caption

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Michael Probst / AP

In Erftstadt, several vehicles are inundated by floods on Saturday.

Michael Probst / AP

A cafe owner in the ruined town of Pepinster burst into tears when King Philippe and Queen Mathilde came to visit on Friday to comfort residents.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo visited cities destroyed by the floods on Saturday, as the Belgian state broadcaster RTBF announced.

Heavy rain and floods devastate western Germany

In addition to Germany and Belgium, the southern parts of the Netherlands are also affected by severe flooding.

Volunteers worked all night to secure levees and protect roads. Thousands of residents of the southern Dutch cities of Bunde, Voulwames, Brommelen and Geulle were allowed to return home on Saturday morning after their evacuation on Thursday and Friday.

In Erftstadt-Blessem a castle damaged by floods can be seen on Saturday (left). Michael Probst / AP Hide caption

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Michael Probst / AP

In Erftstadt-Blessem a castle damaged by floods can be seen on Saturday (left).

Michael Probst / AP

Acting Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who visited the region on Friday, said the region is facing “three disasters”.

“First there was Corona, now there was these floods, and soon people will have to work on cleanup and recovery,” he said. “It’s one catastrophe after the other. But we won’t let Limburg down,” the southern province hit by the floods. His government has declared the floods a state of emergency and opened up national funds for those affected.

There isn't a cloud in the sky, but your house might still be underwater

To help the flood victims, the Dutch brewery Hertog Jan, based in the affected area, distributed 3,000 crates of beer to the locals to help them lift their belongings to protect them from the floods .

In Switzerland, heavy rains caused several rivers and lakes to overflow their banks. The authorities of the city of Lucerne closed several pedestrian bridges over the Reuss.

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