The death toll from disastrous flooding in Germany and Belgium rose to 157 on Saturday as rescue workers toiled to clear up the devastation and search flood-ravaged parts for survivors.
At least 133 people have died in the flooding in western Germany, including some 90 people in the Ahrweiler district south of Cologne, according to police estimates on Saturday.
Another 43 people were confirmed dead in neighboring North Rhine-Westphalia state, Germany's most populous. Hundreds of people are still missing.
Around 700 residents were evacuated late on Friday after a dam broke in the town of Wassenberg near Cologne, authorities said.
By Saturday, waters were receding across much of the affected regions, but officials feared that more bodies might be found in cars and trucks that were swept away.
Over the past several days the floods have cut off entire communities from power and communications.
The flooding has also hit parts of Belgium and the Netherlands. In Belgium, the death toll rose to 24, according to the national crisis centre, which is coordinating the rescue effort.
"Unfortunately, we have to assume that this figure will continue to rise in the coming hours and days," the centre said in a statement. About 20 people are still missing.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Armin Laschet, state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, were scheduled to visit Erftstadt, one of the hardest hit towns, on Saturday.
Laschet is ruling CDU party's candidate in September's general election. The devastation of the floods could intensify the debate over climate change ahead of the vote.
Scientists have long said that climate change will lead to heavier downpours. But determining its role in these relentless downpours will take at least several weeks to research, scientists said on Friday.