BY Vivian Chime
Heavy rainfall has caused severe flooding in western Germany leaving at least 80 people dead and hundreds more missing.
The rain caused rivers to burst their banks, leading to collapse of buildings, washing away of people and vehicles and devastating the region.
The flood, which is one of the worst floods in decades, has been tagged a consequence of climate change by German political leaders.
Angela Merkel, German Chancellor who pledged full support for the victims however expressed fears “that we will only see the full extent of the disaster in the coming days,” saying the incident is one “characterised by fear, by despair, by suffering”.
During a visit to a hard-hit area, Armin Laschet, premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, blamed the extreme weather on global warming, saying climate protection measures must be accelerated.
According to reports, a village of Schuld with a population of 700 was almost entirely destroyed.
Authorities say up to 1,300 people are unaccounted for in the western German district of Ahrweiler and efforts to contact them are being hindered by badly damaged phone networks.
Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland are also affected.
More heavy rainfall was forecast across the region on Friday.