Two firefighters are among the dead in Germany following flooding in the west and south of the country, causing buildings to collapse. Dozens of people were stranded on the rooftops.
“In some areas, we haven’t seen so much precipitation in 100 years,” Andreas Friedrich, spokesperson for the German Weather Service (DWD), told CNN. He added that “in some areas we have seen more than double the amount of rain which has caused flooding and, unfortunately, the collapse of some building structures.”
The regions of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland were the most affected, Friedrich added.
Across the Belgian border, local media reported at least two deaths in flooding, but CNN was unable to confirm this information.
“The EU is ready to help. Affected countries can appeal to the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, ”von der Leyen tweeted.
The German military said in a tweet on Thursday that it had deployed personnel to some of the worst affected areas in the country.
In the western city of Koblenz, four people have died and around 50 people have been trapped on the roofs of their homes while waiting to be rescued, police spokesman Ulrich Sopart told CNN.
Police announced the deaths of two firefighters, one in Sauerland, northeast of the city of Bonn, and the other in North Rhine-Westphalia, the country’s most populous region.
A state of emergency was declared in Hagen – a town of 180,000 inhabitants in North Rhine-Westphalia – after the Volme river overflowed.
Navigation has been suspended on the Rhine, one of Germany’s longest and most important industrial transport arteries, according to NTV News.
Friedrich said the showers were caused by a mixture of colder and warmer precipitation. “He came from France at the start of the week to Germany and has been over Germany for the last 48 hours,” he said.
For now, we expect the worst torrential downpour to have passed, although more heavy rains are due in southwestern Germany on the upper Rhine, [Thursday] and Friday, ”added the DWD spokesperson.