Flood hit Bavaria as German death toll climbs to 156

FRANKFURT, July 18 (Reuters) – Flash floods hit southern Germany on Sunday, killing at least one and deepening devastation after flooding in the country this week, which killed more than 150 people.

The district of Berchtesgadener Land in Bavaria, which borders Austria, became the latest region to be hit by record rainfall and the flooding that followed.

Sunday’s death brought the death toll to 156 in the country’s worst natural disaster in nearly six decades.

Some 110 people have been killed in the worst affected district of Ahrweiler, south of Cologne. More bodies are expected to be found as the floodwaters recede, police say.

In recent days, flooding, which mainly affected the states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, cut entire communities off from electricity and communications. In North Rhine-Westphalia, at least 45 people have been killed.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz told the weekly Bild am Sonntag that the government would prepare more than 300 million euros ($ 354 million) in immediate aid and billions of euros to repair houses, streets and the collapsed bridges.

Scientists have long said that climate change will lead to heavier downpours. But determining its role in the relentless precipitation will take at least several weeks of research, scientists said Friday. ($ 1 = 0.8471 euro)

(Report by Christoph Steitz edited by Frances Kerry)

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