Europe Flood: Rescue Team begin work to search for missing survivors.

Written by on July 18, 2021

Rescue crews have been racing to find survivors of floods that have wreaked havoc across western Europe, killing at least 170 people.

Many people are still missing after record rainfall triggered severe floods in Germany and Belgium, and the death toll is expected to rise further.

Submerged cars are being searched for bodies as flood waters begin to recede.

But a senior German politician has been criticised for laughing during a visit to affected areas.

Armin Laschet, who is the conservative candidate to replace outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel, was caught on camera apparently joking with colleagues as President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was expressing sympathy to victims.

Mrs Merkel herself is expected to visit the region on Sunday afternoon.

European leaders have blamed climate change for the floods, which have also affected Switzerland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Experts say global warming makes torrential rainfall more likely.

The world has already warmed by about 1.2C since the industrial era began.

At least 143 people are now known to have died in the floods in Germany, including four firefighters.

Rescue teams were hampered by difficult conditions on Friday, leaving relatives of the missing waiting anxiously for news.

But by Saturday the authorities said numbers of people unaccounted for had been steadily decreasing.

The states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland have been the worst affected by the rainfall.

And though the risk of further flooding is diminishing there is growing concern about the Steinbachtal dam in North Rhine-Westphalia, south-west of the city of Bonn.

Inspectors say large parts of the structure have come away leaving it extremely unstable, and more people may be asked to leave their homes.

Credit: BBC

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