The number of people who lost their lives in the heavy floods in the western part of Germany increased to at least 81 on Friday.

Around 1,300 people were missing in the Ahrweiler district south of Cologne, the district government said on Facebook & other social media.

Entire communities lay in ruins after swollen rivers swept through towns and villages in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate.
On Friday morning, houses collapsed in Erftstadt, and rescue crews were struggling to help residents who had returned to their houses despite the warnings.

It said many people were still in the houses and several were missing. A gas leak was further hampering rescue workers as they tried to reach stranded people by boat.
One dam close to the Belgium border, the Rurtalsperre, was flooded overnight while another, the Steinbachtalsperre, was unstable.

The North Rhine-Westfalia parliament will hold an emergency meeting. German Interior Minister told magazine Spiegel that the federal government aimed to provide financial support for the affected regions as quickly as possible.