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German villagers hope for a miracle after warnings that a dam could burst and wipe them out as floods kill more than 120, cause billions of pounds of damage and create fatal 'tsunami' waves in Belgium


  • More than 120 have been killed in Germany and Belgium in some of the deadliest European floods in decades 
  • 106 deaths are in Germany alone with a thousand more missing amid fears that total could climb drastically  
  • 4,500 people in the Euskirchen district have been evacuated from their homes amid fears dam could break   
  • At least 23 people are dead in Belgium after 'tsunami-like' flooding caused by rivers breaking their banks
  • Such is the scale of the human tragedy that economic cost-counting has barely begun, though one German official said bluntly that total will certainly be in the 'billions' 

Thousands of villagers in western German were praying for a miracle Friday night amid fears a nearby dam could collapse and inundate their homes with water. 


The villages in the Euskirchen region, near the city of Bonn, have been evacuated with 4,500 told to flee their homes after cracks started appearing in the dam holding back the nearby Steinbach reservoir.


Engineers warned the dam is dangerously close to collapse after a huge amount of water was dumped into the reservoir as three months' worth of rain fell on the region in just one week, causing widespread devastation.


The dam is designed to vent excess water, but its drainage system has been blocked by debris including trees and rubble from destroyed buildings. The strain was clearly visible Friday as huge cracks appeared in the soil reinforcing the front of the dam.


It is just the latest episode in the evolving weather crisis in central Europe, with more than 120 people killed across Germany and Belgium in some of the worst flooding in decades with more than 1,000 still missing.


By Friday afternoon, the death toll in Germany alone stood at 106 marking the country's deadliest floods since at least 1962 when more than 300 people were killed in flooding in Hamburg. 


However, there were fears that toll could rise considerably with more than 1,000 people still missing, mostly from the hard-hit Ahrweiler region, south of Bonn, where whole villages were destroyed as the Ahr river broke its banks.


At least another 23 people were killed in neighbouring Belgium where a 'tsunami-like' torrent of water inundated parts of Leige and Verviers, causing the Meuse and Vesdre rivers to burst their banks.


Such is the scale of the devastation and human tragedy that economic cost-counting has barely even begun, though one German official said bluntly that the cost is certainly in the 'billions'.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday she was planning to visit the disaster zone, hours after King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium visited Pepinster, where the water has continued to rise.  


The visit comes just hours after a landslide in the town of Blessem, near Cologne, killed an unknown number of people when waterlogged ground collapsed into a nearby gravel pit - taking homes, cars, and families with it. 


Helicopters circled overhead following the collapse, looking for anyone left to save. It is thought 55 people were evacuated from the town overnight, but an unknown number returned in the morning to check the damage when the landslide struck.  


There are fears the crisis could worsen the a dam at the Steinbach reservoir (insert) on the verge of collapse due to the pressure of water behind it, as 4,500 people living in three villages below (top right) told to evacuate their homes
Engineers warned a huge amount of pressure has built up behind the dam after it was inundated with water and its drainage system jammed, with huge cracks visible in the soil wall helping to hold it up (pictured bottom)
It comes after a landslide in the flood-damaged town of Blessem, near Cologne, killed 'several' people on Friday as Germany's worst flooding crisis in decades continued to worsen. Above is before and after pictures.

Read More See More Here: Daily Mail

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