Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday she was “shocked” by the devastation wreaked by deadly flooding in western Germany which has claimed at least 19 lives.
“I am shocked by the disaster that so many people in flooded areas are suffering from,” she said in a statement tweeted by her spokesman Steffen Seibert.
Merkel thanked the “tireless volunteers and emergency service workers” at the scene.
Heavy rains and floods lashing western Europe have killed at least 42 people in Germany and left many more missing, as rising waters led several houses to collapse on Thursday.
Unusually heavy rains also inundated neighbouring Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium, where at least four people were reported dead.
Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) states were the worst hit in Germany by the deluge, which has caused rivers to burst their banks and threatens to bring down more homes.
At least 18 bodies were recovered in the region around the western town of Ahrweiler alone, a police spokesman told AFP. Local officials had earlier reported up to 70 people missing.
Farther north, the district of Euskirchen in NRW reported 15 dead.