In Germany’s worst natural disaster in half a century, water levels in many towns are still high, houses continue to collapse, and rescuers are looking for survivors in flood-ravaged areas in western Germany.

At least 180 people were killed in the flood, and about 110 of them died in the Ahrweiler district south of Cologne. In neighbouring Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia, 45 people were confirmed dead, including 4 firefighters. Hundreds of people are still missing.

The floods also hit parts of Belgium and the Netherlands. At least 27 people have died in Belgium.

In the past few days, floods that mainly hit the German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia have cut off electricity and communications throughout the community.

Authorities said about 700 residents were evacuated on Friday night after a dam broke in the town of Wasenberg near Cologne.

On Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Schuld, a village near Ahrweiler, which was destroyed by floods.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and North Rhine-Westphalia Governor Amin Raschert visited one of the worst-hit towns in Erftstadt on Saturday.

Rashet is a candidate for the ruling party of the CDU in the September general election. Record rainfall and flood damage may intensify the debate on climate change before the vote.

For a long time, scientists have said that climate change will lead to greater downpours. But scientists said on Friday that it will take at least a few weeks to study to determine its role in these relentless downpours.


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