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Death toll from Europe floods tops 150 as water recedes

BERLIN (AP) – The death toll from catastrophic flooding in Western Europe rose above 150 on Saturday as rescuers worked to clear the devastation and prevent further damage.

More than 90 people are believed to have died in western Germany’s Ahrweiler district, one of the worst-affected areas, police said, and more casualties were feared. On Friday, authorities gave the death toll for the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, where Ahrweiler is located.

Another 43 people were confirmed dead in the neighboring state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous. Belgian broadcaster RTBF reported that the death toll in Belgium had risen to 27 on Saturday.

By Saturday, water had receded across most of the affected areas, but officials were concerned that more bodies could be found in washed up cars and trucks.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier had planned to travel on Saturday to Erftstadt, southwest of Cologne, where a rescue effort was underway on Friday as people were trapped as the ground gave way and homes Theirs crashed. Officials are concerned that some people have failed to escape, but as of Saturday morning there were no confirmed casualties.

Many areas still do not have electricity and phone service.

In addition to Germany and Belgium being the worst affected, the southern regions of the Netherlands were also affected by major flooding. And with heavy rains in Switzerland causing several rivers and lakes to burst their banks, the Lucerne city government had to close several pedestrian bridges over the Reuss River.

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