In The death toll from floods in North Rhine-Westphalia has risen to 20 (with some sources citing 21 victims), with authorities saying “dozens are missing”..
At the heart of the disaster is Suld, on the Ar River, which overflowed, sweeping away at least six houses. According to local authorities, the situation remains unclear, as the victims have so far been evacuated to various locations. The whole area has been declared a state of emergency, while the Armed Forces are participating in the operations with tracked vehicles and a group of 230 people.
More than 200,000 people are without electricity, and drinking water has been cut off in many places. Telecommunications are taking place with great difficulty and the emergency number is, according to BILD, out of order. Dozens of rescue operations are under way, police say.
The Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Lasset, spoke of a “dramatic situation”, canceling his participation in a Christian Union (CDU / CSU) meeting in Bavaria today and rushing to the disaster area, with a first stop Altena, where a 46-year-old firefighter died tragically trying to save a person trapped in the basement of his house. “The situation remains dramatic. People are still missing. Helicopters are also involved in locating them. “For many people, everything was lost overnight,” he told BILD, promising “quick and lasting help” for the victims.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Layen, expressed her support for the people affected by the disasters in Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg, who tweeted that the EU was ready to assist in the disaster protection mechanism. .