Flooding in Europe, in Pictures

Sinkholes that swallowed up houses. Streets disemboweled, their utility lines exposed. Cars carried away and deposited upside down. Homes emptied out, their contents mixed with mud.

Flooding in Western Europe

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Erftstadt-Blessem, in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.Credit…Rhein-Erft-Kreis/Cologne District Government, via Associated Press

Flooding in Europe, in Pictures

Erftstadt-Blessem, in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.Credit…Rhein-Erft-Kreis/Cologne District Government, via Associated Press

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The heavy rain that began on Wednesday has not gone away, but the death and destruction it has brought to Europe is already extraordinary. In Germany it had taken 93 lives by Friday, with hundreds of people still missing. Belgium has seen at least a dozen deaths.

Images from throughout Europe, and particularly Germany, show sinkholes that swallowed up houses and buildings. Streets lined with once tidy houses and shops have been disemboweled, their sewer and utility lines now exposed. Cars were carried away by torrents of water and deposited upside down or upended against trees. Homes have been emptied out, their contents mixed into oozing mud pits.

The raging rivers have also swept away cellphone towers and fiber optic cables, further hampering rescue efforts and efforts to locate people reported as missing.

Even some of the dikes that have long protected Holland have been overcome by water levels not seen since before the outbreak of World War I.

Germany appears to have suffered the worst of the death and damage from out-of-control rivers. Officials in the Ahrweiler district of Rhineland-Palatinate, the site of the village of Schuld, said late on Thursday that 1,300 people were unaccounted for after the Ahr River tore through communities. The grim expectation is that many of the missing have not survived.

The surging waters of the Erft River claimed three houses and part of a castle in Erftstadt-Blessemtown on Friday. Residents who had not already fled or who had ignored emergency orders and returned to see what was left of their properties were stranded and had to be rescued by boat.

Throughout the affected parts of Germany, thousands of people are now homeless.

Politicians from all parties are calling for election campaigns in Germany to be suspended.

The flooding came the same week that Europe unveiled its ambitious plan for moving away from fossil fuels to mitigate climate change and become carbon neutral by 2050. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany’s president, was among the many who linked the devastation to the need to deal with climate change.

“Only when we take action against climate change can we keep the events that we are now experiencing within limits,” he said.

Photos from the devastated areas show how far beyond those limits the flooding has reached.

Friday

A once bustling shopping street in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany, has become a dump for flood-damaged merchandise.

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Credit…Friedemann Vogel/EPA, via Shutterstock

The destruction in parts of the Blessem district of Erftstadt, Germany, is complete.

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Credit…Sebastien Bozon/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Aare turned an outdoor dining patio in Bern, Switzerland, into a pond.

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Credit…Marcel Bieri/EPA, via Shutterstock

A damaged bridge over the Ahr in Schuld, Germany.

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Credit…Michael Probst/Associated Press

One wheel is the only clear hint that a vehicle is entombed under mud and debris in Schuld.

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Credit…Sascha Steinbach/EPA, via Shutterstock

A tree caught another car when it was swept along by floodwaters in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler.

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Credit…Friedemann Vogel/EPA, via Shutterstock

Its ballast undermined by water, the rails of tracks in Jemelle, Belgium, took on the appearance of a roller coaster.

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Credit…John Thys/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A church and cemetery after flooding in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler.

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Credit…Friedemann Vogel/EPA, via Shutterstock

Schuld, one of the most devastated towns in Germany, lay in ruins on Friday.

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Credit…Sascha Steinbach/EPA, via Shutterstock

The surviving buildings of Schuld are now surrounded by debris from the structures the Ahr swept away.

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Credit…Sascha Steinbach/EPA, via Shutterstock

With water levels at heights not seen since 1911, parts of the Netherlands have flooded, including Wessem.

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Credit…Eva Plevier/Reuters

Thursday

Floodwaters stranded a train just short of a station in Kordel, Germany.

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Credit…Sebastian Schmitt/DPA, via Associated Press

People turned to inflatable rafts in Liege, Belgium, after the Meuse River broke its banks.

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Credit…Valentin Bianchi/Associated Press

The Ahr sweeping past the destruction it bought to Insul, Germany.

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Credit…Michael Probst/Associated Press

A campground in Roermond, Netherlands, lies submerged.

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Credit…Rob Engelaar/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Only a large truck and a front-end loader were able to travel on some of the streets in Valkenburg, Netherlands.

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Credit…Mike Versteegh/Sq Vision, via Reuters

A lookout at Lake Lucerne, Switzerland, became part of the lake itself.

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Credit…Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

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