Record rainfall has caused swollen rivers to burst their banks and wash away homes and other buildings in western Europe – leading to more than 190 fatalities and over 1000 people missing. The floods have affected several river basins, first in the United Kingdom and later across northern and central Europe including Austria, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Italy.
The German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia were among the worst hit by the torrential rainfall, with water levels rising in the Rhine River, as well as the Walloon Region in Belgium. The storms and high waters have also battered neighbouring Switzerland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
Data from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission are being used to map flooded areas to help relief efforts. The mission has been supplying imagery through the Copernicus Emergency Mapping Service to aid relief efforts. The devastating floods has triggered four activations in the Copernicus Emergency Mapping Service, in Western Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
The service uses observations from multiple satellites to provide on-demand mapping to help civil protection authorities and the international humanitarian community in the face of major emergencies.
Westnetz, Germany's biggest power distribution grid, stated that 200,000 properties in the North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate regions were without power and that it would be impossible to repair substations until roads were cleared.