Germany floods: Several dead, dozens missing after heavy rains

Torrential downpours trigger flash floods in parts of western and central Germany, causing property damage and transport disruption.

At least six people have died and dozens are missing after heavy rains triggered flash floods in parts of Germany, damaging homes and disrupting transport.

Police in the western city of Koblenz said in a Twitter post on Thursday that four people had died in Ahrweiler county, with some 50 others trapped on the roofs of their houses awaiting rescue.

Many of those reported missing were on the roofs of at least six houses that were swept away by floods in the municipality of Schuld, where the rainfall caused rivers to burst their banks, local police said.

Large parts of North Rhine-Westphalia state were hit by heavy rains [Sascha Steinbach/EPA]
Rail, road and river transport was disrupted [Friedemann Vogel/EPA]

Authorities have declared an emergency in the region after the days of torrential downpours caused disruption in rail, road and river transport. Large parts of western and central Germany, as well as neighbouring countries have experienced widespread damage.

Police said an 82-year-old man died after a fall in his flooded basement in the western city of Wuppertal, which was among the hardest-hit.

A fireman drowned on Wednesday during rescue work in the western German town of Altena, and another man was missing in the eastern town of Joehstadt after disappearing while trying to secure his property from rising waters, authorities said.

Heavy rainstorms could be expected in southwestern Germany on Thursday, with continuous rains until Friday evening, the German Weather Service warned in a morning bulletin.

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