Devastating floods have torn through entire villages and killed at least 153 people in Europe, 133 of them in western Germany where stunned emergency services were still combing the wreckage on Friday.
Unsuspecting residents were caught completely off guard by the torrent dubbed the “flood of death" by German newspaper Bild.
Streets and houses were submerged by water in some areas, while cars were left overturned on soaked streets after flood waters passed. Some districts were completely cut off.
In neighbouring Belgium, the government confirmed the death toll had jumped to 20 — earlier reports had said 23 dead — with more than 21,000 people left without electricity in one region.
The country “must prepare much better" in future, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said, adding that “this extreme weather is a consequence of climate change".