World

Scenes of the devastation left behind by floods in Europe

Devastating floods spread farther south in Europe into the Alps, inundating towns and villages in Austria and southern Germany as the death toll rose to at least 188. German Chancellor Angela Merkel toured areas of the western state of Rhineland-Palatinate, Sunday, where riverside communities were turned into disaster zones last week after a ­once-in-a-century summer rainfall. She described the scene as “haunting.”

July 19 | Kreuzberg, Germany

Caravans are destroyed in an area affected by floods caused by heavy rainfall.

Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

July 19 | Altenahr, Germany

A damaged car in the the Ahr River after the flooding.

Friedemann Vogel/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Friedemann Vogel/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

July 19 | Altenburg, Germany

A car drives past uprooted trees.

Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images

Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images

July 19 | Pepinster, Belgium

A local textile mill after the floods.

Valentin Bianchi/AP

Valentin Bianchi/AP

July 19 | Altenahr, Germany

People walk amid piled up rubbish after flooding of the Ahr River.

Friedemann Vogel/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Friedemann Vogel/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

July 19 | Pepinster, Belgium

Residents peer into destroyed buildings following heavy rains and flooding.

John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

July 19 | Stolberg, Germany

Severe damage after heavy rain and the flooding of the Vicht brook.

Sascha Steinbach/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Sascha Steinbach/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

July 19 | Salzburg, Austria

An employee of a drug store cleans up mud after the floods.

Lisa Leutner/AP

Lisa Leutner/AP

July 19 | Cheseaux-Noreaz, Switzerland

An aerial view shows tents and camper vehicles in a flooded campsite on the eastern shore of Lake Neuchatel.

Valentin Flauraud/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Valentin Flauraud/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Jul;y 19 | Erlach, Switzerland

The flooded peninsula of St. Peter's Island on Lake Biel.

Valentin Flauraud/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Valentin Flauraud/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

July 18 | Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, visits the village of Schuld, where entire homes were swept away last week by the swollen Ahr river, a tributary of the Rhine.

Christof Stache/Pool AFP/AP

Christof Stache/Pool AFP/AP

In the city of Hagen in North Rhine-Westphalia, the army sent tanks and trucks to clear the roads.

Christof Stache/Pool AFP/AP

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German Army via Storyful

July 17 I Altenahr, Germany

Soldiers remove debris.

July 17 I Altenahr, Germany

People rest while clearing out a vineyard.

July 17 | Bad Neuenahr, Germany

Jutta Schelleckes, 72, sits in the living room of her apartment, which was destroyed in the floods.

Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

July 17 I Erfstadt, Germany

A flooded motorway.

July 17 I Altenahr, Germany

A firefighter rests.

July 16 | Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany

Police officers inspect the area as a person rides a quad bike amid the debris.

Friedemann Vogel/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Friedemann Vogel/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

July 16 | Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany

Workers and residents stand in a flooded street amid debris and damaged houses.

Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images

Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images

July 16 | Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany

A damaged car sits against a tree.

Friedemann Vogel/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Friedemann Vogel/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

July 16 | Schuld, Germany

The village was destroyed during the flooding.

EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

July 16 | Schuld, Germany

Debris hangs on a damaged bridge over the Ahr river.

Michael Probst/AP

Michael Probst/AP

July 16 | Erftstadt-Blessem, Germany

Cars are tipped over near a gravel pit where the ground collapsed.

Sascha Steinbach/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Sascha Steinbach/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

July 16 | Erftstadt-Blessem, Germany

Houses and cars have been damaged by the flooding.

Sascha Steinbach/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Sascha Steinbach/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

July 16 | Erftstadt-Blessem, Germany

Residents sit in front of their house.

Sascha Steinbach/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Sascha Steinbach/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

July 16 | Verviers, Belgium

Residents survey a damaged house.

Francisco Seco/AP

Francisco Seco/AP

July 16 | Verviers, Belgium

Destruction caused by the severe flooding.

Stephanie Lecocq/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Stephanie Lecocq/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

July 16 | Verviers, Belgium

Residents clean up debris from the flooding.

Stephanie Lecocq/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Stephanie Lecocq/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

July 16 | Rochefort, Belgium

Women remove mud and debris from a garage.

John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

July 16 | Rochefort, Belgium

A Belgian army vehicle is overturned in a ditch.

John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

July 16 | Rochefort, Belgium

Workers begin to assess the damage to a road.

John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

July 16 | Liège, Belgium

A woman sorts through clothing in a shelter for residents.

Valentin Bianchi/AP

Valentin Bianchi/AP

July 16 | Liège, Belgium

Cars in a flooded street.

Bernard Gillet/AFP/Getty Images

Bernard Gillet/AFP/Getty Images

The devastation from torrential rainfall prompted helicopter rescue missions throughout the region, as many towns and roads were cut off from assistance. Firefighters in Trier, Germany, braved the flooded streets and raging waters to rescue people holed up in a building’s second story.

Bernard Gillet/AFP/Getty Images

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@Stadt_Trier via Storyful

July 15 | Insul, Germany

Damaged houses are seen along the Ahr River.

Michael Probst/AP

Michael Probst/AP

July 15 | Schuld, Germany

A man and firefighter walk through debris.

Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

“It is a catastrophe, there is no other way to put it,” Malu Dreyer, the premier of Rhineland-Palatinate, one of the German states most devastated by the flooding, said in a speech to the local parliament. “Entire villages are flooded,” she added. “Houses float away just like that.” In the municipality of Schuld, the damage was extensive, as seen in drone video.

Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

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Associated Press

July 15 | Hagen, Germany

Cars are surrounded by debris from the flood.

Friedemann Vogel/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Friedemann Vogel/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The police said three bridges were destroyed in the flooding. Parts of the road were completely swept away.

Friedemann Vogel/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

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Reuters

July 15 | Schuld, Germany

A woman looks at flood debris next to the Ahr river.

Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

July 15 | Schuld, Germany

Firefighters stand near a damaged road.

Sascha Steinbach/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Sascha Steinbach/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

July 15 | Insul, Germany

A damaged street.

Michael Probst/AP

Michael Probst/AP

July 15 | Liège, Belgium

People use rubber rafts on floodwaters after the Meuse river went over its banks.

Valentin Bianchi/AP

Valentin Bianchi/AP

July 15 | Hagen, Germany

A damaged bridge.

Friedemann Vogel/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Friedemann Vogel/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

July 15 | Bad Münstereifel, Germany

A woman cleans a shop entrance.

Sascha Steinbach/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Sascha Steinbach/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

In Belgium, at least four people died in Verviers, while the flooding destroyed shops and homes.

Sascha Steinbach/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

July 15 | Verviers, Belgium

Residents make their way along a flooded street.

Stephanie Lecocq/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Stephanie Lecocq/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

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VTM/Associated Press

July 15 | Verviers, Belgium

Debris accumulates among floodwaters after the heavy rains.

Stephanie Lecocq/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Stephanie Lecocq/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

July 15 | Verviers, Belgium

Cars are piled up as flooding affects the area.

Stephanie Lecocq/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Stephanie Lecocq/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

July 15 | Verviers, Belgium

A woman is evacuated.

Stephanie Lecocq/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Stephanie Lecocq/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Residents and rescuers used sandbags to help stave off the torrential waters.

Stephanie Lecocq/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

July 15 | Liège, Belgium

A man reinforces the front of his house.

Valentin Bianchi/AP

Valentin Bianchi/AP

July 14 | Düsseldorf-Grafenberg, Germany

Firefighters and relief workers move sandbags.

Sascha Steinbach/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Sascha Steinbach/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Government officials said the devastating floods were a reminder of the effects of climate change. “Even though not every event, not every flooding or local incident, is related to climate change, many scientists tell us that the frequency, the intensity and the regularity with which this happens is a consequence of climate change,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

Sascha Steinbach/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

July 15 | Kordel, Germany

A regional train sits in floodwaters at a station.

Sebastian Schmitt/DPA/AP

Sebastian Schmitt/DPA/AP

July 15 | Düsseldorf, Germany

A submerged car is parked in front of a flooded garage. (David Young/DPA/AP)

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Credits

Photo editing and production by Troy Witcher and Kenneth Dickerman, reporting by Ruby Mellen, editing by Reem Akkad, video editing by Jason Aldag.