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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Death toll rises to 157 as rescue search continues in Germany and Belgium floods

By Progress Godfrey, Abuja

Death toll has risen to 157 as rescue workers continue to search flood-ravaged parts of Germany and Belgium for survivors on Saturday, following the flooding which collapses this week

Recall that THE SUMMIT earlier reported 133 deaths as reported by Reuters (check previous post).
President Frank-Walter, during a visit to some of the affected parts mourned with families of the deceased

“We mourn with those that have lost friends, acquaintances, family members,” German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said during a visit to Erftstadt in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where the disaster killed at least 43 people

“Their fate is ripping our hearts apart.”

“Water levels have been stabilising since last night, one can say the situation is stable,” Wassenberg mayor Marcel Maurer said.

The Steinbachtal dam in western Germany, however, remained at risk of breaching, authorities said after some 4,500 people were evacuated from homes downstream.

Steinmeier called the flooding a tragedy and said it would take weeks before the full damage, expected to require several billions of euros in reconstruction funds, could be assessed.

Armin Laschet, state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia and the ruling CDU party’s candidate in September’s general election, said he would speak to Finance Minister Olaf Scholz in the coming days about financial support.

In Belgium, the death toll rose to 24, according to the national crisis centre, which is coordinating the rescue effort.

“Unfortunately, we have to assume that this figure will continue to rise in the coming hours and days,” the centre said in a statement. About 20 people are still missing.

COMMUNITIES CUT OFF

Over the past several days the floods, which have mostly hit the German states of Rhineland Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia and eastern Belgium, have cut off entire communities from power and communications.

RWE (RWEG.DE), Germany’s largest power producer, said on Saturday its opencast mine in Inden and the Weisweiler coal-fired power plant were massively affected, adding that the plant was running at lower capacity after the situation stabilised.

The utility expects damages to be in the mid double-digit million euro range.

In the southern Belgian provinces of Luxembourg and Namur, authorities rushed to supply drinking water to households without a clean supply.

Water levels slowly fell in the worst hit parts of Belgium, though the crisis centre said the situation could worsen in the afternoon along the Demer river closer to Brussels, with about 10 houses under threat of destruction.

Belgian rail network operator Infrabel published plans of repairs to lines, some of which would be back in service only at the very end of August.

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visited some of the worst affected areas of the country on Saturday afternoon.

HIGH ALERT IN THE NETHERLANDS

Emergency services in the Netherlands also remained on high alert as overflowing rivers threatened towns and villages throughout the southern province of Limburg.

Tens of thousands of residents in the region have been evacuated in the past two days, while soldiers, fire brigades and volunteers worked frantically throughout Friday night to enforce dykes and prevent flooding. read more

The Dutch have so far escaped disaster on the scale of its neighbours, and as of Saturday morning no casualties had been reported.

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