[Follow our live coverage of the floods in Europe]
The heavy rains and floods that began in Europe on Wednesday have continued, with 106 people killed in Germany and at least 20 in Belgium as of Friday. Hundreds of people are still missing, and the dire expectation is that many of them did not survive.
Pictures from all over Europe show sinkholes that swallowed houses and buildings. Streets that were once lined with neat houses and businesses have been gutted and their sewers and utilities have now been exposed. Cars were swept away by masses of water and dropped headlong or overturned against trees. Houses were cleared, their contents mixed in weeping mud pits.
The raging rivers have also washed away cell phone masts and fiber optic cables, further hampering rescue efforts.
Even some of the dikes that protected Holland for a long time have been surmounted by water levels that have not been seen since the outbreak of the First World War.
The floods occurred the same week that Europe unveiled its ambitious plan to move away from fossil fuels to mitigate climate change and become carbon neutral by 2050. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany’s President, was one of the many who linked the devastation to the need for an agreement with climate change.
“Only if we take action against climate change can we contain the events we are witnessing now,” he said.
Photos from the devastated areas show how far the floods have gone beyond these limits.
A once busy shopping street in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler has become a landfill for flood-damaged goods.
The destruction in parts of the Blessem district of Erftstadt has been completed.
The Aare turned an outdoor terrace in Bern, Switzerland into a pond.
A damaged bridge over the Ahr in Schuld, Germany.
A wheel is the only clear indication that a vehicle is buried in mud and debris in debt.
In Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, a tree hit another car when it was swept away by the flood.
The gravel washed away by the water, the rails of the tracks in Jemelle, Belgium, took on the appearance of a roller coaster.
A church and a cemetery after the flood in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler.
Guilt, one of the most devastated cities in Germany, was in ruins on Friday.
The preserved buildings of Schuld are now surrounded by rubble from the structures that were swept away by the Ahr.
With water levels at heights not seen since 1911, parts of the Netherlands were flooded, including Wessem.
Floods stranded a train shortly before a train station in Kordel, Germany.
After the Meuse overflowed its banks, people in Liège, Belgium turned to rubber dinghies.
The Ahr sweeps past the destruction it bought Insul, Germany.
A campsite in Roermond, the Netherlands, is underwater.
On some roads in Valkenburg, the Netherlands, only a large truck and a front loader could drive.
A lookout point on Lake Lucerne in Switzerland became part of the lake itself.