At least 168 people died as a result of torrential rains and the resulting floods and floods that have affected Germany and Belgium in recent days, indicated this Saturday afternoon a new assessment by the authorities of these two countries. Authorities also warn that these numbers could rise as around 1,300 people in Ahrweiler County remain unaccounted for.
On Saturday night, in the district of Heinsberg a dyke on the river Nur burst which forced the evacuation of the district of Ophoven in Wassberg with the evacuation of about 700 people.
In the affected areas, according to the German Interior Ministry, there were about 22,000 firefighters and aid organizations in addition to about a thousand police officers.
Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit the affected areas in Rhineland-Platinum on Sunday, while in Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo was in Rochefort accompanied by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Deputy Prime Minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne and a of the mayors of the area affected by the floods.
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Although the rain has already stopped, the pressure on water courses remains high and in Bessel, in the province of Limburg, residents of areas close to the Mass River are being asked to leave their homes.
“Even if the water does not reach the top, there is already pressure on the dikes”, explains the local authority cited by national newspapers. “The pressure of so much water is great and, therefore, there is always some chance that a dam could burst and then the water will flow quickly to this area by the river”, they stress, advising the residents to leave.
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The water level in the Maas River near Sint Pieter, on the outskirts of Maastricht, reached the highest level on Thursday night with a discharge of 3,260 cubic meters per second. The highest level the river has reached since the start of measurements in 1911. In 1926 and 1993 alone, discharges of more than 3,000 cubic meters per second were recorded. By Sunday, the discharge at Sint Pieter will have already dropped to less than 1,500 cubic meters per second, according to the Belgian Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment.