At least 19 people have died and dozens are missing, according to regional officials, after heavy rains triggered flash floods in parts of Germany, damaging homes and disrupting transport. The worst of the flooding has been in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, where around 50 people have been waiting on rooftops to be rescued.
Police in the western city of Koblenz said in a Twitter post on Thursday that four people had died in Ahrweiler county, with some 50 others trapped on the roofs of their houses awaiting rescue. Many of those reported missing were on the roofs of at least six houses that were swept away by floods in the municipality of Schuld, where the rainfall caused rivers to burst their banks, local police said. Schuld is located in the Eifel, a volcanic region of rolling hills and small valleys southwest of Cologne. The full extent of the damage in the region was still unclear after many villages were cut off by floodwater and landslides that made roads impassable. Police helicopters and the army have been deployed to some areas to help stranded residents. Some schools have been closed, while rail and road transport links have been severely disrupted around the west of the country. About 25 houses are in danger of collapsing in the district of Schuld bei Adenau in the Eifel region, where a state of emergency has been declared, according to SWR.
It said some houses had been completely cut-off and could no longer be reached by boat. Four people died in the Eifel region when their homes were swept away in the early hours of Thursday, police said. Meanwhile, two firefighters died on Wednesday in the neighbouring state of North Rhine-Westphalia. One drowned, while the other reportedly collapsed following a rescue operation.