January 17, 2022

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Dramatic situation in Wallonia after heavy rains

On Thursday, July 15, 2021, a man descends a ladder into the water in an attempt to free his boat at the Muse in Liege, Belgium.

On Thursday, July 15, Wallonia was in a state of chaos, with several days of uninterrupted rain in neighboring Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. At noon, a tentative assessment triggered the deaths of six people. Railways were shut down, roads were cut off, houses collapsed under the force of the currents, cars and animals were taken away, broken mobile phone network, drinking water pipes were damaged: the downpour triggered a plan for a national alert.

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Authorities called the EU and its alarm system for help. France quickly sent forty firefighters and a helicopter to Belgium with an aquaculture team. This is to facilitate impossible discharges due to the strength of the waves at various locations. Firefighters and boats of the Belgian army tried to reach some areas, in vain.

An unprecedented event since 1926: The city of Liege, Wallonia’s second largest city, invited thousands of people to flee their homes early in the afternoon on the river Muse, which crosses the city: the water was already submerged in the banks and had to rise another 1.5 meters, according to forecasters. As of Wednesday, the province had recorded a drop of 100 liters of water per square meter. Usually a dam regulating the flow of the league was inactive and some parts of the city were directly threatened, for the first time in almost a century.

Emergency funds were released in three provinces

Elsewhere, the spa, Saud Fontaine (King Philip visited on Thursday) and Verviers, where four bodies were found at noon on Thursday, have been hit hard by rising waters. A dozen rivers and their tributaries rise from one bed. In Japan, in the German-speaking region, a dam had to release a portion of its contents, violating its retention capacity, resulting in the evacuation of several sites. Although water had to be provided openly to areas already flooded, the move was considered necessary.

A woman reunites with her baby on July 15, 2021, after rescuers evacuated a flooded house on the outskirts of Leigh.

Emergency operations have also been declared in Namur, Luxembourg and Hainad provinces. The regional government on Thursday afternoon decided to provide emergency funding to the governors of these three provinces and the affected municipalities. Less vulnerable, the Flemish area noted damage in Limburg and Braband.

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