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Death toll from floods in Germany rises to 19, buildings collapse

At least 19 people have been killed and dozens are missing in Germany after massive floods turned streams and streets into raging torrents, sweeping cars and causing buildings to collapse, the Associated Press reported.

On Thursday, authorities in the western province of Euskirchen said that eight flood-related deaths had been reported there. The rescue operations were affected by the partial disruption of telephone lines and internet connections in the area, which is located southwest of Cologne.

Police in the western city of Queens said four people had died in Ahrweiler County, and 50 people were trapped on their rooftops waiting for rescue.

Six homes collapsed overnight in the village of Shold, and police said several people had been reported missing. Sjöld is located in the Eifel, a volcanic region of small hills and valleys, southwest of Cologne.

The full extent of the devastation in the area is still unclear, the agency said, after flood waters and mudslides cut off many villages and made passage through roads difficult. Videos posted on social media showed cars floating in the streets and partially collapsed houses in some areas.

The authorities declared an emergency in the region after days of heavy rain that also affected large parts of western and central Germany, as well as in neighboring countries, causing widespread destruction.

Police said four people died in separate incidents after the basements of their homes were submerged in Cologne and Kamen-Wuppertal, as authorities warned that a dam could collapse. Authorities in Cologne's Rhine-Sig district have ordered the evacuation of several villages below the Steinbachtal Reservoir, amid fears that the dam could collapse there as well.

Unusually heavy rain also inundated an area in northeastern France this week, bringing down trees and closing dozens of roads. A train route to Luxembourg was disrupted and firefighters evacuated dozens of people from their homes near the Luxembourg and German borders and in the Maranne region, according to France Bleu local radio.

In Belgium, continuous rain throughout the night exacerbated flooding in eastern Belgium, with one person drowning and at least one missing.