On Monday, the death toll from Germany’s worst floods in living memory climbed to 165, as rescue workers combed through devastated towns in search of scores more people still missing.
A deluge of rain fell over western Germany over two days last week, sending torrents of water rushing down streets, sweeping away trees, cars, and sheds, and destroying swathes of housing.
Many victims have been found dead in sodden cellars after attempting to retrieve valuables, while others were swept away by the sheer force of the water.
Emergency workers have been out in force to assess damaged buildings, clear debris, and restore gas, electricity, and telephone services.
In some areas, police have deployed speedboats and divers to retrieve bodies.
A total of 117 people are now confirmed to have died in Rhineland-Palatinate state, a police spokesman told AFP, with 47 victims in neighboring North Rhine-Westphalia and one in Bavaria.
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and Armin Laschet, the head of North Rhine-Westphalia state and the frontrunner to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor, were on Monday due to visit the Euskirchen, one of the worst-affected towns.
On Sunday, Merkel visited the town of Schuld, calling the devastation “shocking” and calling for the world to speed up efforts to tackle the climate crisis.