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Rhineland-Palatinate. Photo: Boris Roessler/picture alliance via Getty Images

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.

Go deeper

Oct 5, 2021 - World

India's top court orders government to pay families for COVID deaths

A health care worker administering a coronavirus test in Noida, India, on Oct. 4. Photo: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

India's Supreme Court ordered the country's disaster management agency to pay 50,000 rupees, around $671, to families for each COVID-19 death they suffered as a way to help them cope with the loss, according to Reuters.

Why it matters: More than 449,000 people have died from the virus in India, meaning the total payout could be more than $300 million. However, many experts have warned that the country's death toll may have been undercounted.

Exclusive: Biden administration raises minimum wage for federal employees to $15

A poster demanding a federal $15-per-hour minimum wage seen near the White House in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 26, 2021. Photo: Erin Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Federal agencies are being directed to raise the minimum wages for government employees to $15 an hour, according to new guidance from the Office of Personnel Management shared first with Axios.

Why it matters: The guidance will impact almost 70,000 federal employees, most of which work at the Departments of Agriculture, Defense and Veterans Affairs. OMP is directing agencies to implement the new wage by Jan. 30.

Kate Marino, author of Markets
52 mins ago - Economy & Business

The Federal Reserve is open to creating a digital dollar

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Federal Reserve finally released a much-delayed paper yesterday opining on the pros and cons of developing its own central bank digital currency (CBDC), but without coming to any firm conclusions.

Why it matters: Around the world, there are now 23 CBDCs either in pilot or formally launched. They have morphed from a theoretical concept into real-world digital cash, changing the way governments and millions of people use money — but not in the U.S.