Germany – Fatalities, Evacuations, Dozens Feared Missing After Severe Flooding

Flooding after torrential rain has caused widespread damage in Germany. Four people have died and dozens are thought to be missing after buildings collapsed in flooding in Rhineland-Palatinate. Flood-related fatalities were also reported in North Rhine-Westphalia and one person was reported missing in Saxony.

Update: The district of Euskirchen in North Rhine-Westphalia reported at least 8 people have died in catastrophic flooding in the area. Several villages have been evacuated, including Flamersheim, after the Steinbachtalsperre dam threatened to break. Telecommunications in the area have failed and emergency service numbers are not working. Authorities said people were being rescued from floods in Schleiden, Gemünd and Oberhausen.

Flooding in Hagen, Germany, July 2021. Photo: Feuerwehr Hagen

North Rhine-Westphalia

Two on-duty emergency workers died in separate incidents in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia on 14 July 2021. A firefighter collapsed and died during a storm-related mission in the area of ​​the Werdohl-Elverlingsen power plant near Werdohl. A second firefighter died in flood waters in the town of Altena in the Märkischer district.

Meanwhile the nearby city of Hagen declared a state of emergency and called for people to evacuate their homes after the Volme river burst its banks. Authorities urged people who live in close proximity to Hagen rivers (especially the Volme) to self-evacuate and move to higher areas. “If you can’t leave the house, you should move to higher floors so that you can be rescued from there if necessary,” authorities said. Firefighters rescued several drivers from vehicles stuck in a flooded underpass in the city.

Also in North Rhine-Westphalia, authorities in the city of Düsseldorf called on residents in the Grafenberg district to leave their homes on 14 July because of the threat of flooding from the rising levels of the Düssel river. Around 350 houses are thought to be affected. Firefighters are working to shore up flood protection for a 700 metre stretch of embankment along the river.

The Düssel river reached an historic high of 2.65 metres at Gerresheim on 14 July 2021, the city of Düsseldorf said.

Flooding in Hagen, Germany, July 2021. Photo: Feuerwehr Hagen
Flooding in Hagen, Germany, July 2021. Photo: Feuerwehr Hagen


Severe flooding has also affected the neighbouring state of Rhineland-Palatinate. As of 15 July, rivers in 15 locations were at the highest warning level.

Late on 14 July several buildings collapsed in Schuld in the district of Ahrweiler as a result of flooding. As of early 15 July local police confirmed 4 people had died. Police said numerous people were reported missing and as many as 50 people had taken refuge on roofs of buildings to escape the floods. About 25 more buildings in the area were thought to be at the risk.

Flooding has affected other areas of Ahrweiler district and officials declared a state of emergency. Dozens of houses along the Ahr river have been evacuated and all bridges have been closed. According to Südwestrundfunk (SWR) a regional public broadcasting corporation in the southwest of Germany, reported one person died in a flooded cellar of a house in Heimersheim.

As of late 14 July the Ahr river at Altenahr reached record levels of 5.75 metres, well above the previous high of 3.71 metres set in 2016.

The district of Eifelkreis Bitburg-Prüm also declared a state of emergency. All bridges across the Prüm River have been closed. Firefighters have responded to hundreds of incidents of flooding. Roads have been closed in Vulkaneifel district leaving some villages cut off. The district has also declared a state of emergency.

Levels of the Ahr river at Altenahr, 14 July 2021.


Earlier, flooding in eastern Germany caused severe damage in the district of Erzgebirgskreis in the state of Saxony on 13 July. Emergency workers are searching for a policeman who was swept away by flood waters in the town of Jöhstadt while trying to protect his home.

Social Media