Even as some Germans managed to return to their homes on Saturday amid the receding floodwaters, the danger for others had not yet passed.
In Wassenberg, a town in western Germany near the Dutch border, officials had ordered roughly 700 people to evacuate their homes on Friday night after a nearby dam broke, town officials said on Saturday.
The extent of any damage was not immediately clear.
The evacuations were precipitated by the breach of a dam on the Roer river, a tributary of the Rhine, which passes through the western regions hardest hit by the flooding.
In other towns nearby, residents were gradually making their way back home and for the first time since floodwaters rushed in earlier this week, reckoning with what had been ruined: books, heirlooms and century-old family businesses.
Volunteers joined the firefighters and soldiers picking through damaged buildings, rolling wheelbarrows full of dirt and debris from people’s cellars.