A woman looks at cars and rubble piled up in a street after the floods caused major damage in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, western Germany, on July 16, 2021. (CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

More than 100 people died and hundreds more remained missing as crews searched through piles of rubble left behind by catastrophic flooding in Germany and Belgium earlier this week.

The torrents invaded towns and washed away vehicles and, in some cases, entire buildings. For hours, residents stood on the roofs of their homes and other buildings awaiting rescue.

On Thursday and Friday, the death toll rapidly rose as search-and-rescue crews reached the hardest-hit areas and located more victims. The flooding was brought on by extremely heavy rainfall – upwards of 7 inches in two days, in some areas – on already saturated ground.

“In the hour of need, our country stands together,” German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a statement obtained by the Associated Press. “It’s important that we show solidarity for those from whom the flood has taken everything.”


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