TV reporter fired after smearing mud on her face in flood zone

German television reporter Susanna Ohlen was caught on video smearing mud on her face before going on camera to report from a German town devastated by flooding, prompting her suspension by news outlet RTL.

Ohlen, 39, said it was a "serious mistake" to add mud to her clothes before reporting from the areas heavily hit by deadly floods in Germany.

"As a journalist, this should never have happened to me. As a person who takes the suffering of all those affected to heart, it has happened to me. I'm sorry," she wrote on Instagram.

"After I had already helped privately in the region in previous days, I was ashamed to stand in front of the camera in clean clothes, in front of the other relief workers. As a result, without thinking twice, I smeared mud on my clothes," she added.

An RTL spokeswoman said: "The actions of our reporter clearly contradicts journalistic principles and our own standards."  

At least 173 people in Germany and 32 people in Belgium have died in the floods. It is feared the death toll may still rise as there are at least 176 people still missing from both countries.