Heavy rains and floods lashing western Germany have killed at least 33 people and left around 50 missing, regional officials said, as rising waters led several houses to collapse on Thursday.
Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) states were the worst hit by the unusually heavy rainfall, which has caused rivers to burst their banks and threatens to bring down more homes.
“There are many places where fire brigades and rescue workers have been deployed. We don’t yet have a very precise picture because rescue measures are continuing,” a police spokesperson said.
Two firefighters died in the Sauerland region, northeast of Bonn, on Wednesday, police said. The news agency DPA said one had drowned and a second had collapsed after a rescue operation.
Rail and road transport were disrupted, and shipping on the Rhine, an important trade artery, was suspended.
More heavy rain was due in southwestern Germany, on the upper reaches of the German Rhine, on Thursday and Friday, the German Weather Service said.