Deadly flooding in Europe

By Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Fernando Alfonso III and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 0223 GMT (1023 HKT) July 16, 2021
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8:10 p.m. ET, July 15, 2021

What we know about the deadly flooding in Europe

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt, Schams Elwazer, Barbara Wojazer and Sharon Braithwaite

At least 54 people have died due to severe flooding in Western Europe, caused by what experts described as the heaviest rainfall in a century.

Up to 70 people are missing in Germany after flash floods swept across western and southern parts of the country, causing buildings to collapse, police said Thursday. Germany is worst hit with 49 people killed, while six people died in Belgium. Luxembourg and the Netherlands are also affected.

"In some areas we have not seen this much rainfall in 100 years," Andreas Friedrich, a German weather service spokesman, told CNN. He added that "in some areas we've seen more than double the amount of rainfall which has caused flooding and unfortunately some building structures to collapse."

The German regions of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland were worst affected, Friedrich added.

Extreme rainfall totals were observed Wednesday into Thursday morning across much of western Germany and the Benelux region, with North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate seeing the highest rainfall totals, according to CNN Meteorologist Brandon Miller.

Widespread swaths of these states saw 24-hour rainfall totals between 100-150 mm (3.9-5.9 inches), which represent more than a month's worth of rainfall in this region.

Cologne recorded 154 mm (6 inches) of rainfall in only 24 hours ending Thursday morning, which is nearly double its monthly average for July of 87 mm (3.45 inches).

Locally heavier downpours resulted in extreme flash flooding. In Reifferscheid, an incredible 207 mm (8.1 inches) of rain fell in only nine hours, according to the European Severe Weather Database.

Read more here.

5:42 p.m. ET, July 15, 2021

German chancellor sends condolences to all those affected by floods

From CNN's Vasco Cotovio

(Susan Walsh/AP)
(Susan Walsh/AP)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel sent her condolences to those affected by the flash floods that have swept through several states in her country.

“My sincere condolences to all those who have lost friends or relatives or are still concerned about missing loved ones,” she said during a news conference at the White House, speaking alongside US President Joe Biden.

“It’s very close to my heart,” she said, adding that she has been in close contact with authorities in her home country despite being away on a visit to the United States. 

The German chancellor also guaranteed that her government would support all those affected by the floods.

“We will support them in this horrible hour and we won’t leave them alone, we will help with the rebuilding,” she said.

4:11 p.m. ET, July 15, 2021

At least 49 dead from severe floods in Germany

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio

A regional train sits in the flood waters at the local station in Kordel, Germany, Thursday July 15, after it was flooded by the high waters of the Kyll river.
A regional train sits in the flood waters at the local station in Kordel, Germany, Thursday July 15, after it was flooded by the high waters of the Kyll river. (Sebastian Schmitt/dpa/AP)

Authorities in Germany say that at least 49 people have been found dead as a result of the flash floods that swept through parts of the country.

In North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, 30 people have been found dead, a spokesman for the state government told CNN on Thursday. According to the spokesman, at least 50 people were also injured in the floods.

The number of people missing is still unclear, the spokesman added. 

In Rhineland-Palatinate, at least 19 people were found dead but “that number is expected to rise,” a spokesman for police in Koblenz told CNN on Thursday. According to the spokesman, at 12 p.m. local earlier in the day, 70 people were unaccounted, adding that “that number has changed,” without providing further details. 

3:22 p.m. ET, July 15, 2021

Dutch city of Maastricht asks residents of 2 neighborhoods to evacuate

From CNN’s James Frater

The Dutch city of Maastricht has called on residents of the Heugem and Randwyck districts to leave their homes "as soon as possible" due to rising water in the river Meuse. 

According to Dutch Statistics Office "Statline," the population of the two neighborhoods is more than 9,000.

"The water in the Meuse is rising rapidly. We expect it to cross the quays at Randwyck/Heugem around 3 a.m," a news release from the city council of Maastricht said. "This means water will end up in the streets and homes."

2:42 p.m. ET, July 15, 2021

Video shows flooding in Belgian city of Liège

A video from passerby Damien Ernst shows just how devastating the flooding in Liège, Belgium, has been.

More than 40 people are dead in Germany and Belgium following severe flooding in the area, caused by what experts described as the heaviest rainfall in a century.

Watch the video:

2:19 p.m. ET, July 15, 2021

Russia and Italy send condolences over Europe flooding

From CNN's Zahra Ullah and Sharon Braithwaite

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin sent his condolences to German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and German Chancellor Angela Merkel “over the tragic consequences of the cyclone that hit the western lands of Germany.”

“The President of Russia asked to convey words of sympathy and support to those who lost their family members and friends as a result of the disaster and wished a speedy recovery to the injured,” a Kremlin statement said.

Italy’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Twitter: “Deepest condolences to the Governments and peoples of Germany and Belgium for the lives lost to the terrible floods. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims. Italy stands ready to provide any support needed.”

2:19 p.m. ET, July 15, 2021

Belgium's regional government of Wallonia provides $2.9 billion in emergency aid

From CNN’s Barbara Wojazer

Flooded streets in Verviers, Belgium, after heavy rainfall, Thursday, July 15.
Flooded streets in Verviers, Belgium, after heavy rainfall, Thursday, July 15. (Anthony Dehez/Belga Mag/AFP/Getty Images)

The government of Wallonia, Belgium’s French-speaking region particularly impacted by the floods, will provide $2.9 billion (€2.5 billion) in emergency aid, it said in a news release on Thursday. 

The government pledged the money to “finance the logistical support, the material and human means to carry out emergency interventions (cleaning, debris removal, etc.)"

“The situation in Wallonia is dramatic. Floods of an unprecedented severity are currently impacting our region,” the release added.

1:43 p.m. ET, July 15, 2021

Italy sends search and rescue team to support Belgium amid severe flooding

From CNN’s Sharon Braithwaite

Italy has sent support to Belgium after its southern region of Wallonia was hit by severe floods on Thursday, the Italian Civil Protection agency said in a statement.

Both personnel and vehicles that are used in rescue operations have been dispatched, the agency said, after a request for international assistance from the European Commission.

“A team made up of personnel from the Civil Protection Department and the National Fire Brigade has already reached Liège to ensure the necessary coordination with local authorities,” the agency added.

“In the next few hours, a C-130 flight of the Italian Air Force will depart from Venice” carrying “personnel and vehicles specialized in search and rescue in flood conditions,” the statement said.

“Furthermore, tomorrow a Defense helicopter will reach Belgium to support the search for the missing.”

1:08 p.m. ET, July 15, 2021

At least 41 people have died in Germany after severe flooding in several states

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

A view of flooded area after severe rainstorm and flash floods hit western states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany on July 15.
A view of flooded area after severe rainstorm and flash floods hit western states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany on July 15. (Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

At least 41 people have died as the result of severe flooding in Germany, according to local police, with dozens still unaccounted for. 

The death toll in northern Rhineland-Palatinate has risen to 19, police in Koblenz told CNN Thursday night. 

In Germany's most populous state of North-Rhine Westphalia police told CNN that at least 20 people have died, including two firefighters.