Tuesday, July 27, 2021
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    Flooding in Europe, in Pictures

    The heavy rain and flooding that began on Wednesday in Europe have continued, with at least 183 lives lost in Germany and Belgium. Hundreds of people are still missing, and the grim expectation is that many of them have not survived.

    Images from throughout Europe 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, their contents mixed into oozing mud pits.

    The raging rivers have also swept away cellphone towers and fiber optic cables, further hampering rescue efforts.

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

    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.


    Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany visited the village of Schuld, in the country’s west.

    Gordon Welters for The New York Times

    A woman in front of her destroyed rented home in Schuld.

    Gordon Welters for The New York Times

    Volunteers helping clean a house that was flooded by the Ahr river in Heimersheim, south of Bonn.

    Lena Mucha for The New York Times

    A stretch of highway near Cologne, Germany, collapsed during the flooding.

    Lena Mucha for The New York Times

    Culling through damaged furniture outside shops and restaurants in the German spa town of Bad Neuenahr.

    Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

    In Austria, high water tore away part of a bridge near Kitzbühel.

    Zoom Tirol/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    The Germany Army and other organizations were pitching in to clear debris in heavily damaged Schuld.

    Sascha Steinbach/EPA, via Shutterstock

    A community effort to get Bad Münstereifel, Germany, back in working order.

    Gordon Welters for The New York Times

    A home for disabled adults in Sinzig, Germany, where 12 people were killed in the flooding. The floodwaters’ high mark can be seen on the wall of the building.

    Lena Mucha for The New York Times

    In Bad Münstereifel’s town center, a man lamented the damage at his restaurant.

    Gordon Welters for The New York Times

    Salvage work after the floodwaters receded in Bad Münstereifel.

    Gordon Welters for The New York Times

    Removing mud from a shop on the main street of Bad Münstereifel.

    Gordon Welters for The New York Times

    A waterlogged road in Erftstadt, Germany.

    Gordon Welters for The New York Times

    Clearing the rubble from a church in Valkenburg aan de Geul, in the Netherlands.

    Marcel Van Hoorn/EPA, via Shutterstock

    Workers placed heavy sandbags at the water’s edge in the evacuated Dutch town of Arcen.

    Remko De Waal/ANP, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    The high water of the Maas river near Arcen.

    Remko De Waal/EPA, via Shutterstock

    The disaster reached parts of Belgium, including the town of Rochefort.

    John Thys/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    Assessing the damage in Pepinster, Belgium.

    Julien Warnand/EPA, via Shutterstock

    This image released by the district government of Cologne shows the flooded town of Erftstadt, Germany, after heavy rains.

    Rhein-Erft-Kreis/Cologne District Government, via Associated Press

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

    Friedemann Vogel/EPA, via Shutterstock

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

    Sebastien Bozon/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    The Aare River turned a restaurant patio in Bern, Switzerland, into a pond.

    Marcel Bieri/EPA, via Shutterstock

    An impassable bridge over the Ahr in Schuld, Germany.

    Michael Probst/Associated Press

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

    Sascha Steinbach/EPA, via Shutterstock

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

    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.

    John Thys/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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

    Friedemann Vogel/EPA, via Shutterstock

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

    Sascha Steinbach/EPA, via Shutterstock

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

    Sascha Steinbach/EPA, via Shutterstock

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

    Eva Plevier/Reuters

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

    Sebastian Schmitt/DPA, via Associated Press

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

    Valentin Bianchi/Associated Press

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

    Michael Probst/Associated Press

    A campground in Roermond, Netherlands, lies submerged.

    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.

    Mike Versteegh/Sq Vision, via Reuters

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

    Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

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