DISASTER – Belgium and Germany suffered violent storms which caused major flooding and left dozens of people dead and missing. Further precipitation is expected in the coming days.
LCI editorial staff –
Bad weather has already left 42 dead and dozens missing in western Germany, where six houses were washed away in a river. Hundreds of firefighters are mobilized to rescue the inhabitants of several affected localities. The death toll could rise as more houses threaten to collapse.
After Bavaria, to the south, violent storms hit this part of the country. In several localities, the water rose to nearly a meter in alleys. Trees were uprooted by powerful squalls. Near Düsseldorf, firefighters used boats to rescue three motorists who got stuck with their vehicle in a flooded tunnel on a motorway.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said to herself “devastated by the disaster”. “We have never seen such a catastrophe, it is really devastating”, lamented the Minister-President of Rhineland-Palatinate, Malu Dreyer.
Especially since the episode is far from over. Authorities expect more rainfall in the coming days. These cause local authorities to fear flooding of the Rhine and Moselle, the levels of which are already high after the last heavy downpours.
Several dead in Belgium
Neighboring the most affected German regions, Belgium and Luxembourg are also affected. Four bodies were found on Thursday by the relief workers who came to the aid of the victims of the floods in the district of Verviers, in eastern Belgium, the city’s prosecutor told AFP. According to the RTBF channel, this brings the death toll from the floods linked to the torrential rains to at least six.
And again, the situation could get worse. In Wallonia, in the south of the country, a large number of rivers have risen from their beds, causing flooding on Wednesday. These floods are 100 years old, the accumulations of rain being remarkable for this period of the year.
In particular, the spa town of Spa was flooded. Video images taken from the RTBF website showed downtown streets transformed into muddy torrents. Several public services had to close their doors. 120 scout camps which were camping in Wallonia also had to be evacuated and relocated overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday.
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In Liège (East), many axes bordering the Meuse have been closed to traffic. A cultural center has been opened to accommodate residents who would be forced to leave their homes. The authorities of this province also warned that the flow of the local river could increase still considerably due to the opening of the gates of two dams reached saturation. The inhabitants of Chaudfontaine, on the banks of this watercourse, began to be evacuated. According to RTBF, 1,700 people would be affected.
On Twitter, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin announced that within the framework of the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism, 40 rescuers from the Civil Security Instruction and Intervention Unit had left for Belgium. A helicopter with an aquatic research crew is also hired to support the rescue.
For its part, Luxembourg launched the “weather” plan following heavy rainfall. De “many” houses are flooded and “more habitable” all over the country and their residents were evacuated, authorities said.
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