Aerial footage of the devastating floods in Germany show homes buckled and crushed, cars and SUVs tossed about and water flowing through residential neighborhoods.
Historic, torrential rain inundated parts of western Germany and Belgium this week, wiping out roads, halting some communication and prompting a regional state of emergency as authorities tried to locate as many as 1,500 people assumed to be missing.
At least 126 people in Germany and Belgium are confirmed dead by NBC News.
Resident Andreas Mueller said he finally reached loved ones around the village of Schuld, in the hard-hit state of Rhineland-Palatinate, after many attempts.
“Yeah, there was also no phone connection, but we tried to reach them all night,” he said. “And it was very hard to get them.”
The torrential rain caused rivers to overflow, carrying vehicles away, sometimes wheels-up. Many homes, businesses and structures appeared to be complete losses, their lumber strewn nearby or sent downstream.
Weather experts said the rain and flooding were rare, and the week’s devastation could amount to the region’s worst natural disaster in more than 50 years.
The World Meteorological Organization said devastated areas received up to two months of rainfall in two days.
WMO spokesperson Clare Nullis said it was too soon to blame the floods on the radical weather brought about by rising global temperatures but added, “Climate change is already increasing the frequency of extreme events. And many single events have been shown to be made worse by global warming.”
President Joe Biden expressed his condolences to survivors in Germany and Belgium on behalf of the American people.