Mainz / Cologne (dpa) – To date, at least 130 people are known to have died in catastrophic floods in western Germany. At least 90 people died in the floods in Rhineland-Palatinate and 43 more in North Rhine-Westphalia. The number is likely to increase given the large number of missing people.
The situation in Erftstadt-Blessem, southwestern Cologne, was dramatic on Friday morning. The houses there were mined by the floods and collapsed. Aerial photographs distributed by the district government and photographs taken by photographers show landslides of enormous proportions. The houses were razed and disappeared.
In Rhineland-Palatinate, the Ahrweiler district suffered the brunt of the disaster. In the village of Schuld an der Ahr alone, which has 700 inhabitants, several houses were razed by bodies of water and many other buildings were damaged, some severely.
The damage to the two federal states is immense. According to Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU), the federal government is planning an aid program. Currently on a visit to the United States, Chancellor Merkel tried to reassure those affected: “We will not leave them alone in this difficult and terrible time and we will also help rebuild.” The chancellor said she was continuously informed of the situation in the flooded areas.