The Latest on deadly flooding in Europe:\r\n\r\nBRUSSELS \u2014 Just as the European Union was preparing drastic plans costing billions of euros to contain climate change, massive clouds were gathering over Germany and other EU nations to unleash an unprecedented storm that left death and destruction in its wake.\r\n\r\nDespite ample warnings, politicians and weather forecasters were shocked at the ferocity of the precipitation that caused flash flooding that killed at least 120 people in the lush wooded hills of Western Europe.\r\n\r\nMany climate scientists said the link to global warming was unmistakable and the urgency to do something about it undeniable. To say that climate change caused the flooding may be a step too far, but scientists insist that it acerbates the extreme weather that has been on show from the western U.S. and Canada to Siberia to Europe's Rhine region.\r\n\r\n\u201cThere is a clear link between extreme precipitation occurring and climate change,\u201d Prof. Wim Thiery of Brussels University said Friday.\r\n\r\nFor the heat records, added Prof. Stefan Rahmstorf of the University of Potsdam, \u201csome are so extreme that they would be virtually impossible without global warming, as recently in western North America.\u201d\r\n\r\nTaking them all together, said Sir David King, Chair of the Climate Crisis Advisory Group, \u201cthese are casualties of the climate crisis: we will only see these extreme weather events become more frequent.\u201d\r\n\r\n___\r\n\r\nBRUSSELS \u2014 Belgium's interior minister says the official death toll of flash flooding in the country's east has gone up to 18, with more people missing.\r\n\r\nAfter Germany, Belgium was the hardest hit by the rains earlier this week that caused homes to be ripped away and roads to be turned into wild rivers running through the center of several towns.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe official confirmed death toll now stands at 18 and there are a great many missing,\u201d Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden told VRT network Friday. The number of people missing is estimated to be at 19.\r\n\r\nShe said water levels on the Meuse river running into the Netherlands remains critical.\r\n\r\n\u201cThere are a number of dikes on the Meuse whether it is really touch and go whether they will collapse,\u201d she said.\r\n\r\n___\r\n\r\nTHE HAGUE, Netherlands \u2014 Flooding is affecting other parts of Western Europe after killing at least 110 people and causing destruction in Germany and Belgium.\r\n\r\nEmergency officials in the Netherlands are urging residents of homes close to a canal in the southern Dutch province of Limburg to evacuate swiftly after a canal dike burst.\r\n\r\nThe South Limburg emergency services said Friday that a large hole has opened in the dike alongside the Juliana Canal, which runs near the swollen Maas river.\r\n\r\nResidents are being warned that four small settlements close to the canal \u201cwill very soon be underwater.\u201d\r\n\r\nHeavy rainfall in Romania on Thursday night caused \u201cunprecedented\u201d flooding in a small western commune that required dozens of emergency workers to rescue people from damaged homes and cars.\r\n\r\nAlba County\u2019s Inspectorate for Emergency Situations said in a statement Friday that no one died in Romania.\r\n\r\n___\r\n\r\nBERLIN \u2014 Germany\u2019s defense ministry said Friday that it is deploying a battalion to the hard-hit region of Ahrweiler.\r\n\r\nThe 371st Armored Infantry Battalion is being sent to relieve emergency crews who have been working for days to reach people trapped in the county.\r\n\r\nMany villages in the mountainous region were heavily damaged and dozens of people died in the flash floods overnight Thursday.\r\n\r\n____\r\n\r\nBERLIN \u2014 German officials said Friday that the economic damage from the flooding in country's west will be immense.\r\n\r\nMore than half of the 53 counties in North Rhine-Westphalia state were affected by the floods, which damaged hundreds of buildings. At least 43 people died in the state.\r\n\r\nNorth Rhine-Westphalia Gov. Armin Laschet said the floods had \u201cliterally pulled the ground from beneath many people\u2019s feet. They lost their houses, farms or businesses.\u201d\r\n\r\nFederal and state officials have pledged financial aid to the affected areas of Germany, which also include the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, where at least 60 people died and entire villages were destroyed.\r\n\r\nSeveral religious organizations have called for donations to help residents who lost everything in the floods.\r\n\r\nThe damage to Germany\u2019s economy is also expected to be severe. Several factories were flooded and key infrastructure, including parts of the A1 highway from Cologne to Bonn, were swept away.\r\n\r\n___\r\n\r\nTHE HAGUE, Netherlands \u2014 Authorities in the southern Dutch town of Venlo are evacuating a hospital due to the looming threat of flooding.\r\n\r\nEmergency coordinators said some 200 patients will be transported from the VieCuri hospital to other hospitals Friday afternoon as a precaution \u201cto get ahead of any possible flooding.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe hospital is close to the banks of the swollen Maas river that flows into the Netherlands from Belgium, where flooding has caused widespread damage in and near the city of Liege. The river is called the Meuse in Belgium.\r\n\r\nThe hospital will remain closed until Monday.\r\n\r\nFlooding in the Netherlands\u2019 southern Limburg province has caused damage to homes and businesses in several towns and villages and sparked evacuations but has not caused any major injuries or deaths.\r\n\r\n\u2014-\r\n\r\nBERLIN \u2014 Operators of an assisted living facility for people with disabilities in western Germany said Friday that the number of residents who died in flooding has increased to 12.\r\n\r\nGerman news agency dpa quoted the chief executive of the Lebenshilfe association in Rhineland-Palatinate state saying only one of the 13 people missing from the facility had been found alive.\r\n\r\nMatthias Mandos said a staff member managed to move several residents of the home in the town of Sinzig to the first floor as waters from the nearby Ahr river rushed into the building.\r\n\r\nBy the time the staff member tried to get others to safety, it was too late, Mandos said.\r\n\r\nPsychologists were on hand to help traumatized employees and residents, he added.\r\n\r\n___\r\n\r\nBERLIN \u2014 German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he is \u201cstunned\u201d by the \u201cdevastating effects\u201d of the flooding across parts of western Germany that has killed more than 100 people and left hundreds missing.\r\n\r\nSteinmeier pledged the German government's support to the families of those killed and to cities and towns facing significant damage.\r\n\r\n\u201cIn the hour of need, our country stands together,\u201d Steinmeier said in a statement Friday afternoon. \u201cIt\u2019s important that we show solidarity for those from whom the flood has taken everything.\u201d\r\n\r\nCalling the events a \u201ctragedy,\u201d Steinmeier said he had been in touch with state and local officials in the affected areas and that they used "shocking words\u201d to describe the situations on the ground.\r\n\r\nThe crisis, he said, underscores the impact of climate change and the need for forceful action to combat it.\r\n\r\n\u201cOnly if we decisively take up the fight against climate change will we be able to limit the extreme weather conditions we are now experiencing,\u201d Steinmeier said.\r\n\r\n___\r\n\r\nCOPENHAGEN, Denmark \u2014 Denmark\u2019s foreign minister called the devastating floods across parts of Germany and Belgium that have killed at least 100 people \u201cutterly heartbreaking.\u201d\r\n\r\nForeign Minister Jeppe Kofod wrote on Twitter that \u201cEurope must and will stand together in this tragedy.\u201d\r\n\r\nHe said Friday that his thoughts were with the victims and their families.\r\n\r\n___\r\n\r\nBERLIN \u2014 At least 100 people have died in devastating floods across parts of western Germany and Belgium as search and rescue operations continue for hundreds more still unaccounted for.\r\n\r\nAuthorities in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate said 50 people had died there, including at least nine residents of an assisted living facility for people with disabilities. In neighboring North Rhine-Westphalia state officials put the death toll at 43, but warned that the figure could increase.\r\n\r\nRescuers rushed Friday to help people trapped in their homes in the town of Erftstadt, southwest of Cologne. Regional authorities said several people had died after their houses collapsed due to the ground sinking.\r\n\r\nSpeaking to German broadcaster n-tv, county administrator Frank Rock said that authorities had no precise number yet for how many had died.\r\n\r\n\u201cOne has to assume that under the circumstances some people didn\u2019t manage to escape,\u201d he said.\r\n\r\nAuthorities said late Thursday that about 1,300 people in Germany were still listed missing, but cautioned that the high figure could be due to duplication of data and difficulties reaching people because of disrupted roads and phone connections.\r\n\r\nIn a provisional tally, the Belgian death toll rose to 12, with 5 people still missing, local authorities and media reported early Friday.