15 July 2021, Rhineland-Palatinate, Erdorf: A general view of a flooded street as bad weather conditions floods the city. Photo: Harald Tittel/dpa

The death toll in Germany from torrential rain and flooding has climbed to at least 42, according to police counts.

The tally rose after Cologne police reported that at least 20 people were now known to have died in the region around the western German city.

The German states of North-Rhine Westphalia, where Cologne is located, and neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate were the hardest hit.

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The flood waters have collapsed houses, cut off communities and left dozens unaccounted for, with German army troops aiding local emergency responders in the rescue and evacuation efforts.

Parts of Belgium and Netherlands have also been devastated by the high waters.

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