At least 184 people dead after devastating European floods
At least 184 people have died in Germany and Belgium amid a rare flood event that has devastated the region, Reuters reported on Sunday.
The latest: At least 157 have died in Germany and, in Belgium, the death toll stood at 27, as of Sunday morning.
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel has promised financial aid for the disaster sites. The German government is said to be readying more than $354 million in relief, per Reuters.
- By Saturday, most of those who were listed as missing had been accounted for. Now, receding floodwaters throughout the region are revealing the breadth of the damage.
- Thousands of people remain homeless after their houses were destroyed by the flooding or deemed at-risk by authorities.
- Police warned of a potential risk from downed power lines and urged visitors to stay away in the Ahrweiler district in the north of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.
What they're saying: "A lot of people have lost everything they spent their lives building up — their possessions, their home, the roof over their heads," said German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. "Many people here in these regions have nothing left but their hope, and we must not disappoint this hope," he said.
- During a visit with President Biden on Thursday Chancellor Angela Merkel said "the full extent of this tragedy will only be seen in the coming days."
- "It is terrifying," Merkel said, per Reuters. "The German language can barely describe the devastation that's taken place."
The big picture: Flash floods this week followed days of heavy rainfall, which caused rivers and reservoirs to burst through their banks.
- The rainfall amounts had around a 1% chance of occurring in an individual year, making it a 100-year rainstorm.
Between the lines: Scientists are analyzing the rainfall for more precise calculations and to determine the role that global warming played in this disaster, but studies have shown climate change increases the odds of and severity of extreme precipitation events.
Editor's note: This story has been updated as more news becomes available.