At least 100 people have died and about 1,300 are believed missing in Germany and Belgium from a rare flood event that ripped through the region, per AP.
The big picture: At least 50 people have died in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, including nine residents of an assisted living facility for people with disabilities, per AP.
In North Rhine-Westphalia, state officials put the death toll at 43, but warned that the figure could rise.Thousands of people remain homeless after their houses were destroyed by the flooding or deemed at-risk by authorities.The German army has deployed 900 soldiers to help with rescue efforts, per AP.
What they’re saying: “Whole places are scarred by the disaster,” German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said at a news conference Friday, per the Washington Post. “Many people have lost what they have built all their lives.”
During a visit with President Biden on Thursday Chancellor Angela Merkel said “the full extent of this tragedy will only be seen in the coming days.”
The big picture: Flash floods this week followed days of heavy rainfall, which caused rivers and reservoirs to burst through their banks.
The rainfall amounts had around a 1% chance of occurring in an individual year, making it a 100-year rainstorm. Authorities cautioned that the high number of individuals missing could be due to duplication of data and difficulties reaching people because of disrupted roads and phone connections.
Between the lines: Scientists are analyzing the rainfall amounts for more precise calculations and to determine the role that global warming played in this disaster, but studies have shown climate change increases the odds of and severity of extreme precipitation events.