The death toll from floods in Western Europe climbed to 170 on Saturday, according to local officials.
In Germany at least 143 people have been reported dead, while the death toll in neighboring Belgium rose to 27, The New York Times reported.
More people are feared dead in Germany’s Ahrweiler district, where the death toll stood at 90. Authorities there have also received reports of 618 people injured.
About 1,300 people in the district remained missing Saturday as damaged phone networks have impeded efforts to reach them.
The Belgium interior ministry on Saturday reported 27 people dead and 103 missing or unreachable due to flooding in the Wallonia region.
Fatalities have mounted since flash floods from the heaviest rain in a century swept through Western Europe from Wednesday into Thursday, causing buildings to collapse in western and southern Germany, and also affecting neighboring countries.
Since then, the majority of deaths have been in Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate regions, as rescue work has continued across the affected areas.
Later Saturday, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited the North Rhine Westphalia area of Rhein-Erft, then joined state premier Armin Laschet in Erfstadt, where water has washed away several houses and automobiles.
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo of Belgium and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen paid visits to flood-affected communities.
Severe flash floods have also hit neighbouring Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, forcing hundreds to flee, but no deaths have been reported, according to officials.
The European Flood Awareness System issued extreme flood warning earlier in the week. Hannah Cloke, a hydrologist who set up and advises EFAS, told Politico Thursday the high death toll represented “a monumental failure of the system.”
The German weather service DWD said it had passed the warning onto local authorities who were responsible for evacuations.
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told the Guardian “this is a consequence of climate change,” and that the country “must prepare much better in the future.”