Europe : At least 120 dead in devastating floods

Europe : At least 120 dead in devastating floods

Europe : At least 120 dead in devastating floods

Catastrophic flooding in western Europe has killed more than 120 people, with hundreds more missing, authorities said Friday, as large-scale rescue efforts continue amid rising water, landslides and power outages.

Shocking images of the devastation in Germany and Belgium showed entire villages underwater, with cars wedged in between collapsed buildings and debris. The Netherlands and Luxembourg have also been affected by the extreme rainfall.

A dam along the river Rur in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia broke Friday night, according to the regional government. Officials have started the evacuation of about 700 residents in the Ophoven neighborhood in the city of Wassenberg.

Dutch officials ordered the evacuation of 10,000 people in the municipality of Venlo, where the Maas river rose faster than expected. The high waters are expected to last until Sunday evening.

Some 15,000 police, soldiers and emergency service workers have been deployed in Germany to help with the search and rescue. Entire villages have been destroyed, and officials in the western German district of Ahrweiler say up to 1,300 people are unaccounted for.

Thousands of people remained homeless in Germany after their houses were destroyed or deemed at-risk by authorities, including several villages around the Steinbach reservoir that experts say could collapse under the weight of the floods.