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Death toll rose to 42 in  Germany floods

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BERLIN:The death toll in Germany's worst flood in more than 200 years rose to at least 42 as dozens of people remain missing, sources said.

At least 20 people have died in the region around the western town of Ahrweiler, according to authorities as the western states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia have been struck hardest by the unusually severe rainstorm and flash floods.

The extent of the damage and the overall situation in flood-stricken areas remained unclear as rescue workers had to cope with torrential rainstorms which brought 148 liters (39 gallons) of rain per square meter in 48 hours.

Helicopters were used to rescue residents stranded on streets, trees and rooftops.

Hundreds of soldiers were deployed in the crisis-hit region to help rescue efforts.

Villages and small towns in the western and southwestern areas of the country were cut off by floodwater and landslides that made roads impassable.

There have also been reports of widespread looting as residents were being evacuated from the flood zone.

Authorities in Rhineland-Palatinate warned that they expected waters on the Rhine and Moselle rivers to swell with additional rainfall.

There have also been massive power outages as more than 200,000 households are without electricity.

Meanwhile, public transportation has been severely affected by the catastrophic situation as trains and buses have been cancelled or disrupted.

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