Flooding continued to wreak havoc in parts of Europe. At least 180 people have died, and with many still missing, the death toll could rise further. People in regions of Germany and Belgium which are worst-affected by recent floods have begun the huge task of clearing their neighbourhoods, as the waters start to recede. The scale of the damage is becoming clear, as rescue crews continue to look for victims.
Emergency crews rescued people from homes in the Austrian region of Salzburg, where floodwaters submerged the streets of one town. The fire brigade said, the capital Vienna saw more rainfall in an hour last night than in the previous seven weeks combined.
Meanwhile, in Germany, concern shifted south to the Upper Bavaria region, where heavy rains deluged basements and roads. In western Germany, authorities said, the Steinbachtal dam remained at risk of breaching after residents were evacuated from homes downstream. At least 156 people are now known to have died in the floods in Germany, including four firefighters. The states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland have been the worst affected.
In Belgium, the army has been sent to four of the country’s 10 provinces to help with rescue and evacuations. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo declared 20th of July a national day of mourning. He said, the floods – which have claimed at least 27 lives in Belgium – could be the most catastrophic our country has ever seen.
Rescue workers from France, Italy and Austria were sent to the Belgian city of Liege, where residents were evacuated after flash floods. Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, thousands of people fled their homes in Limburg province as rising waters swamped cities and broke through a dyke.
In Switzerland, lakes and rivers were also swelling after heavy rainfall. The river running through the Swiss capital Bern burst its banks on Friday.
European leaders have blamed climate change for the floods, which have also affected Switzerland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Experts said, global warming makes torrential rainfall more likely. The world has already warmed by about 1.2 degrees Celsius since the industrial era began.