BERLIN (Reuters) - At least five people have been killed in floods caused by prolonged heavy rain in southern Germany’s Bavaria state and thousands of households were cut off from electricity, officials said on Thursday.
Firemen found the bodies of three women in the basement of a flooded house in Simbach am Inn 120 km (75 miles) east of Munich, and the body of a man at another property in the town.
Authorities had no immediate details on how the man died, but they said it was related to flooding.
In the nearby village of Julbach, emergency services discovered the body of a drowned woman draped over a tree trunk in a stream. Her house had apparently collapsed, police said.
At least four people were missing in the district of Rottal-Inn. “We’re expecting the worst,” police spokesman Michael Emmer said, adding divers were searching for those missing.
Flooding has affected an area of around 160 square kilometers near the border with Austria and had caused damage worth tens of millions of euros, officials said.
District governor Michael Fahmueller described the destruction as “scenes of horror”.
“We have had floods before, but this time it is so much worse. We had been rebuilding everything for a year, so (our) house was newly renovated from top to bottom, and it is all ruined again,” Sieglinde Simboeck told Reuters TV.
Police arrested two looters who tried to snatch car radios. Several thousand households were cut off from electricity in the flooded region close to the Austrian border. An emergency allowance of 1,500 euros ($1,678) will be provided immediately to the hardest-hit victims, a government official announced.
Weather forecasters said more rain was expected in the region on Thursday, further complicating rescue efforts.
Parts of the northern, heavily industrial state of North Rhine-Westphalia have also experienced serious flooding.
Earlier this week, three people were killed in floods in the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg and a young girl was killed by a train as she took shelter from the rain under a railway bridge.
Reporting by Michael Nienaber, James Swaden and Reuters TV; Editing by Mark Heinrich