Italy sends search and rescue team to support Belgium amid severe flooding

Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert offered the chancellors’ condolences to the families of victims.

”I am shocked by the disaster that so many people in the flood areas have to endure. My sympathies go out to the families of the dead and missing,” he tweeted.

Armin Laschet, the premier of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Conservatives’ candidate to succeed Merkel, visited the region on Thursday.

“We will be faced with such events over and over, and that means we need to speed up climate protection measures, on European, federal and global levels, because climate change isn’t confined to one state,” Laschett said.

Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said she is deploying more military personnel to the severe weather disaster in the west and southwest.

“The Bundeswehr is helping quickly and without complications in Hagen and Ahrweiler with currently 300 soldiers,” she tweeted.

In neighboring Belgium, at least six people died in the floods that hit the southern region of Wallonia, CNN affiliate RTBF reported Thursday, citing the magistrate on duty at the Verviers prosecutor’s office and the governor of the Liège province.

These people died after heavy rain impacted the region, RTBF also said.

France has offered to help and sent 40 firefighter-rescuers to Belgium, the French interior minister Gérald Darmanin tweeted on Thursday.

The European Union activated the civil emergency response mechanism to help areas of Belgium affected by floods, the EU Commission said Thursday in a statement.

“Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Germany you can count on the EU’s help to face these dramatic floods. My thoughts are with the victims of these tragic events and with all who will have to rebuild what they have lost. I want to thank all rescue teams for their invaluable help and relentless efforts,” EU Council president Charles Michel tweeted Thursday.