SCHULD, Germany — Torrential rain turned normally placid rivers into raging torrents in parts of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands this week, dragging cars and roads with them, bringing down whole houses and leaving more than 150 people dead.
The Ahr river in western Germany, normally a minor tributary of the Rhine, caused some of the worst damage as rapidly rising floodwater smashed through its curving valley on Wednesday night. Several homes collapsed in the village of Schuld, and a bridge over the river was left strewn with debris. People trying to salvage their possessions waded through knee-deep mud.
The Meuse broke its banks in the Belgian city of Liege, leaving some locals taking to boats. The German city of Hagen also suffered severe flooding.
In Erftstadt, near Cologne in Germany, people were trapped when the ground gave way and their homes collapsed. Dozens were rescued from their homes and aerial photos showed what appeared to be a massive landslide at a gravel pit on the town’s edge.