In Bebinster, Belgium, a house collapsed in the middle of an interview with city mayor Philippe Cody following heavy rains in the country since Wednesday.
The pictures are striking. On Thursday evening, after the heavy rains in Belgium, the mayor of Pepinster, one of the most affected cities, Philip Codin spoke on the VTM television channel.
In the middle of his interview, when a significant flood is seen behind him, a house gradually collapses, spitting many pieces of furniture and personal belongings into the rushing water. Residents are still there. They can be seen taking refuge on the roof and then trying to reach the neighboring residence.
At the same time, in this neighborhood, dozens of other residents took refuge on the roofs of their homes. Relief efforts continued this Friday morning to rescue them.
According to Philip Coddin, about twenty houses collapsed in Pebinster.
“Ten of us are dead and almost ten of us are unheard of,” he told AFP.
The “unprecedented” flood
The “unprecedented” floods that have devastated parts of Belgium since Wednesday have killed at least 20 people, and the government announced on Friday that a national mourning period would be observed on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Alexander de Crowe said he feared the number would worsen. About 20 people are still missing.
“In many places the situation is very complicated,” the Flemish Liberal leader told a news conference. “We are still waiting for the final count, but these floods could be the biggest disaster our country has ever seen,” he said.
“These are completely exceptional circumstances, unprecedented in our country,” he added, welcoming the mobilization of neighboring countries to help the Belgian rescuers.
The province of Liege in the east of the country has been hardest hit by the floods and is focusing on most relief efforts. At least ten deaths have been reported in the municipalities of Verviers and Pebinster alone.