German churches pray, provide aid as European flooding death toll climbs

German Catholic churches offered spiritual and financial support to survivors of devastating flooding in two regions of the country.

At Masses July 18, bishops, priests and parishioners prayed for those who died, emergency workers who continued to clear mud-lined streets and residents seeking to salvage what they could from damaged and destroyed homes, the German Catholic news agency KNA reported.

Officials recorded at least 196 deaths July 19 in western and southern Germany, eastern Belgium and parts of the Netherlands. Hundreds more were missing.

In a visit to the region July 18, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the catastrophe the worst natural disaster in the country in 60 years.

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