BONN, Germany (AP) — German regions hit by deadly floods last week could see more heavy rain this weekend, the country’s national weather service said Thursday.
The DWD weather service said localized storms were likely from midday Saturday, expanding to large parts of Rhineland-Palatinate state later in the day.
Officials said Thursday that the death toll from last week’s floods in the western state had risen to 128. Across Germany, 177 people have been confirmed dead, and 31 deaths were reported from neighboring Belgium, taking the total flood deaths to 208.
Authorities have built a huge camp for rescue workers at the Nuerburgring race track. More than 4,500 civil defense workers, firefighters and soldiers have been deployed to help with cleanup efforts in the badly affected Ahr valley region of Rhineland-Palatinate.
On Wednesday, Germany’s Cabinet approved a roughly 400 million-euro ($472 million) package of immediate aid for flood victims. It promised to get moving quickly on funding plans to rebuild devastated areas, which is expected to cost billions.
The extent of the damage has yet to be determined “but it is immense,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a news conference in Berlin on Thursday. She noted that Germany’s railway operator, Deutsche Bahn, has said 600 kilometers (373 miles) of track were affected.
“We will need a long time to repair all this damage,” she said.
A Dutch investigative panel said Thursday it is launching a preliminary probe into the flooding that will focus on “the safety of citizens who were dependent on decision-making and action by governments” for flood prevention and measures taken during last week’s crisis.
There were no flooding casualties in the Netherlands, but raging waters caused widespread damage in the southern province of Limburg that borders both Germany and Belgium. The mayor of the hardest-hit Dutch town, Valkenburg, has said that the tourism center suffered damage to buildings and lost business worth 400 million euros ($472 million).