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At Least 44 Dead in Floods in Western Europe, Dozens Missing

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SCHULD, Germany, July 15 (Reuters) – At least 42 people have died in Germany and dozens were missing on Thursday as record rainfall in western Europe caused rivers to burst their banks, swept away homes and flooded cellars.

Eighteen people died and dozens were missing around the wine-growing region of Ahrweiler, in Rhineland-Palatinate state, police said, after the Ahr river that flows into the Rhine rose and brought down half a dozen houses.

Another 15 people died in the Euskirchen region south of the city of Bonn, authorities said. In Belgium, two men died due to the torrential rain and a 15-year-old girl was missing after being swept away by a swollen river.

Hundreds of soldiers were helping police with the rescue efforts in Germany, using tanks to clear roads of landslides and fallen trees, while helicopters winched those stranded on rooftops to safety.

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