The small rural district of Ahrweiler, in western Germany, seemingly faced the full wrath of the week’s severe floods, with the foul weather leaving dozens of people dead, hundreds injured, and scores of homes reduced to rubble.
At least 62 people died in the storm and subsequent flooding, the local police department said on Friday, adding that the grim toll might rise still higher. Located south of Cologne, the district, which has a population of some 130,000, saw the River Ahr burst its banks, bringing devastation to nearby towns and villages.
An aerial picture taken with a drone shows the destroyed village of Schuld in the district of Ahrweiler after heavy flooding of the river Ahr, in Schuld, Germany, early 16 July 2021. 📷 epa / Sascha Steinbach #Schuld#hochwasser#floods#germanyfloods#flooding#epaphotospic.twitter.com/CjU751xtZI
Photos and videos posted to social media show destroyed bridges, streets flooded with fast-flowing torrents of water, and roads turned into canals. Entire villages in Ahrweiler are currently under water.
🇩🇪〰️☔️ Inundation / Floods Massive flooding in western #Germany has left dozens of people dead and caused significant damage#Ahrweiler#AngelaMerkel#Hochwasserkatastrophe#EuropeanUnionCpic.twitter.com/fP4cjpisC2
This is #Ahrweiler . One of the most beautiful cities I’ve cycled in 🇩🇪. Over 80 people have died including rescue personal and hundreds are still missing. My heart weeps for all affected. #Hochwasser#Klimakatastrophe@Ma3Route#KOT 🎦 courtesy pic.twitter.com/eUHrayo09n
The police department said it had received reports of at least 362 people having been injured in the municipality. On Thursday, the authorities reported that more than 1,300 people were missing in the Ahrweiler district alone.
Severe damages in the village of Schuld in the district of Ahrweiler after heavy flooding of the river Ahr, in Schuld, Germany. At least 80 people are dead and 1,300 missing, according to the latest data from officials. 📷 epa / Sascha Steinbach#Schuld#hochwasser#floodspic.twitter.com/PVNqKgrPak
Earlier, drone footage obtained by RT’s Ruptly video agency showed the devastation caused by the floods in the town of Insul.
The German army has been deployed to the area to aid in the search-and-rescue effort, and a helicopter from France was also sent to join the operation, the police said.
#Altenahr before the rain and “now”…. #hochwasser#flooding#starkregenpic.twitter.com/PhWeuvDRRj
Officers thanked the people of the district for the “great amount of solidarity and many offers of help.” Footage posted to social media shows a column of farmers riding their tractors and bulldozers from neighboring Westerwald to help with the rescue efforts.
Hier kommen Bauern aus dem Westerwald nach Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, um zu helfen. 👍😊 pic.twitter.com/2tCDZ80WNA
More than 1,000 police officers, servicemen, fire department officers, and other first responders have been engaged in the rescue operation in Ahrweiler, the authorities have said, adding that “more forces” were nonetheless still required.
Germany faced a “unique disaster of an unprecedented scale” earlier this week, Gerd Landsberg, the head of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, said. The floods, caused by record rainfall, have swept up cars, destroyed houses, and sparked power outages.
The western German states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate have been the worst affected. The nationwide death toll has now passed 100, according to media reports citing officials. Earlier on Friday, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer issued a nationwide military disaster alert.
Chancellor Angela Merkel promised aid to those hit by the floods. “I can tell people: We will not leave them alone in these difficult, terrible times. We will also help with reconstruction,” she said.
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