BERLIN (AP) — At least 120 people have died in devastating floods across parts of western Germany and Belgium, officials said Friday, as rescue operations and the search for hundreds still unaccounted for continued.
Authorities in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate said 60 people had died there, including 12 residents of an assisted living facility for people with disabilities.
In neighboring North Rhine-Westphalia, state officials put the death toll at 43, but warned that the figure could increase.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he was “stunned” by the devastation caused by the flooding and called for more urgent efforts to combat global warming.
Belgium's interior minister said the country's death toll from the floods has grown to 18.
Friday, rescuers were rushing to help people trapped in their homes in the town of Erftstadt, southwest of Cologne.
Regional authorities said several people had died after their houses collapsed due to subsidence, and aerial pictures showed what appeared to be a massive sinkhole.
Officials have warned such disasters could become more common due to climate change.
Other parts of Europe also experienced deadly flooding. In Turkey, officials said Thursday that at least six people were killed and two people were missing after heavy rains hit the country’s northeastern Black Sea coast, triggering floods and landslides.
The Turkey victims included an elderly woman who was found dead amid the debris of her three-story house and the head administrator of a nearby village who was killed after being swept away by the raging waters.