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120 dead in floods in Germany, Belgium; most of W Europe inundated
More than 1,300 people are missing in floods and rain in North Rhine-Westphalia State near Cologne. Germany and Belgium reported 120 dead as many villages and towns drowned in the untimely floods. Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland are also affected by the floods and rain. At places where the floods receded, there were ghastly sights of bodies of people trapped inside cars and other vehicles carrried away by the swirling currents of gushing waters from overflowing rivers.

BERLIN, July 16: More than 100 people have died in Germany and 20 in Belgium as flood waters surged in most of western Europe in one of the worst calamities to befall the Continent in recent memory.

Over 1,300 people are missing south of Cologne. Western Germany's State of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate State in the south-west bordered by France, Belgium and Luxembourg were the worst affected. It was a sad sight finding bodies inside cars carried away by powerful flow of flood waters caused by heavy rain for several days and flash floods.

Swollen rivers rushed through destroying towns and villages in parts of Belgium and the Netherlands also. People were frightened as floods drowned houses, communities and streets overnight. It had been torrential rain for several days. The flood waters swamped everything.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said at a news conference, “Many people have lost what they have built all their lives.”

Meteorologists have doubted the rain inland could be the result of climate change. They say such catastrophies would become more frequent in the future. "It is a sad certainty that such extreme events will determine our day-to-day life more and more frequently in the future," said Armin Laschet, State premier of North Rhine-Westphalia. He is the ruling CDU's candidate for Chancellor's post in coming elections. Angela Merkel will step down in September.

There was power failure in 1,14,000 households in Germany on Friday. Mobile phone networks had collapsed in some flooded regions.

French military is helping with rescue operations in Belgium, Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Twitter.

Even as river Meuse continued to rise and threatened to overflow, Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said, "These are exceptional circumstances that our country has not seen before," in an otherwise "beautiful summer days."

Luxembourg and the Netherlands are also being flooded. People in Limburg province in Netherlands were being evacuated.

Meanwhile, heavy rain in Switzerland caused several rivers and lakes to burst their banks, AP reported.

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