German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised fast financial aid on Sunday after visiting one of the areas worst affected by record floods that have killed at least 157 people in the country over past days.
“We are by your side,” Merkel told residents of the small town Adenau in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, calling the situation there “terrifying”.
She added that a short-term relief program would be launched by the government on Wednesday.
As efforts continued to track down missing people, the devastation continued on Sunday when a district of Bavaria, southern Germany, was hit by flash floods that killed at least one person.
Roads were turned into rivers, some vehicles were swept away and swathes of land buried under thick mud in Berchtesgadener Land. Hundreds of rescue workers were searching for survivors in the district, which borders Austria.
“We were not prepared for this,” said Berchtesgadener Land district administrator Bernhard Kern, adding that the situation had deteriorated “drastically” late on Saturday, leaving little time for emergency services to act.
About 110 people have been killed in the worst-hit Ahrweiler district south of Cologne. More bodies are expected to be found there as the flood waters recede, police say.
The European floods, which began on Wednesday, have mainly hit the German states of Rhineland Palatinate, North Rhine-Westphalia as well as parts of Belgium. Entire communities have been cut off, without power or communications.
In North Rhine-Westphalia at least 46 people have died. The death toll in Belgium climbed to 31 on Sunday.