The death toll from Europe floods in western Germany and Belgium rose to 117, while more than 1,000 people went missing.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a Friday statement that “In the hour of need, our country stands together. It’s important that we show solidarity for those from whom the flood has taken everything.”
The death toll in Germany alone has reached 103, in the country’s worst mass loss of life in years.
“It was so terrible, we couldn’t help anyone. People were waving out of the windows,” Frank Thel, a resident of Schuld, told Reuters in front of a pile of rubble in the town, where several buildings had collapsed.
According to Rhineland-Palatinate State Authorities, at least 60 people died, while for North Rhine-Westphalia the figure recorded 43.
Rescue operations have been ongoing in a bid to assist trapped citizens, “We managed to get 50 people out of their houses last night,” said Frank Rock, the head of the county administration. “We know of 15 people who still need to be rescued.”
While in Belgium, the death toll from Europe floods rose to 14, according to local authorities.
“The waters are rising more and more. It’s scary,” Thierry Bourgeois, 52, told Reuters in the Belgian town of Liege.
Europe floods came as a result of days of heavy rainfall which turned streams, sweeping away cars and leading to the collapse of buildings.
Germany Defence Ministry spokesman Arne Collatz said that the military had deployed over 850 troops as of Friday morning, but the number is “rising significantly because the need is growing.”
Italy has sent a team of civil protection officials to Belgium to help with the rescue efforts and evacuation of residents.
The Netherlands was also hit by the floods, as the country’s Caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte declared flood-hit regions a disaster area.
Dutch King Willem-Alexander visited the region Thursday night and called the scenes “heart-breaking.”
Similarly, Switzerland was impacted by Europe floods, as some small bridges were destroyed in the northern villages of Schleitheim und Beggingen late Thursday.