At least 44 people have died and dozens are missing as record rainfall floods swept through towns and villages in western Europe on Thursday (July 15)

In Belgium, two men died due to the torrential rain and a 15-year-old girl was missing after being swept away by an overflowing river.

Video posted on social media shows a swollen section of river in the town of Verviers in eastern Belgium, inundating a nearby bridge with debris and water.

Around 10 houses collapsed in Pepinster after the river Vesdre flooded the eastern town and residents were evacuated from more than 1,000 homes.

The rain also caused severe disruption to public transport, with high-speed Thalys train services to Germany cancelled. Traffic on the river Meuse is also suspended as the major Belgian waterway threatened to breach its banks.

At least 42 people have died in Germany and dozens were missing.

Weather experts said that rain in the region over the past 24 hours had been unprecedented, due to a near-stationary low-pressure weather system.

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