Search for Missing Flood Victims Continues Across Germany

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    German officials have defended their preparations for flooding in the face of the raging torrents that caught many people by surprise and left over 190 people dead in Western Europe, but concede that they will need to learn lessons from the disaster.

    Efforts to find any more victims and clean up the mess across a swathe of western Germany, eastern Belgium and the Netherlands continued Monday as floodwaters receded.

    So far, 117 people have been confirmed dead in the worst-affected German region, Rhineland-Palatinate; 46 in the neighboring state of North Rhine-Westphalia; and at least one in Bavaria, parts of which saw heavy rain and flooding over the weekend. At least 31 people died in Belgium.

    The downpours that led to usually small rivers swelling at vast speed in the middle of last week were forecast, but warnings of potentially catastrophic damage didn’t appear to have found their way to many people on the ground — often in the middle of the night.

    As local communities contemplate the huge task of rebuilding smashed homes and infrastructure such as the water system, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet is set to draw up a package of immediate and medium-term financial aid on Wednesday.

    At the Steinbach Reservoir, North Rhine-Westphalia state governor Armin Laschet said the dam was designed for a risk that might occur once in 10,000 years.

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    In This Story: Belgium

    Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, and the North Sea to the northwest.

    It covers an area of 30,689 km2 (11,849 sq mi) and has a population of more than 11.5 million, making it the 22nd most densely populated country in the world and the 6th most densely populated country in Europe, with a density of 376 per square kilometre (970/sq mi). The capital and largest city is Brussels; other major cities are Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi, Liège, Bruges, Namur, and Leuven.

    Legally, Belgium is a sovereign state and a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Its institutional organization is complex and is structured on both regional and linguistic grounds. It is divided into three highly autonomous regions: the Flemish Region in the north, Wallonia in the south, and the Brussels-Capital Region.

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    Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe. It lies between the Baltic and North seas to the north, and the Alps to the south.

    Germany is a federal parliamentary republic led by a chancellor. With over 83 million inhabitants of its 16 constituent states, it is the second-most populous country in Europe after Russia, as well as the most populous member state of the European Union. Its capital and largest city is Berlin, and its financial centre is Frankfurt; the largest urban area is the Ruhr.

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  • In This Story: Netherlands

    The Netherlands, informally Holland, is a country primarily located in Western Europe and partly in the Caribbean, forming the largest constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In Europe, it consists of 12 provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with those countries and the United Kingdom. In the Caribbean, it consists of three special municipalities: the islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. The country’s official language is Dutch, with West Frisian as a secondary official language in the province of Friesland, and English and Papiamentu as secondary official languages in the Caribbean Netherlands. Dutch Low Saxon and Limburgish are recognised regional languages (spoken in the east and southeast respectively), while Sinte Romani and Yiddish are recognised non-territorial languages.

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