Europe

Belgium takes a tribute to the victims of the floods

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Belgium observes Tuesday a day of national mourning, after the terrible floods which left about thirty dead and dozens of missing in the country. The inhabitants will observe a minute of silence at noon.

Belgium pays tribute on Tuesday July 19 to the victims of the floods of an unprecedented scale which devastated the region of Liège (east) on July 14 and 15, with a day of “national mourning” marked by a minute of silence for the whole country is called to observe at noon.

According to a still provisional report, Monday evening, the strong floods due to torrential rains, which caused the collapse of dozens of houses, claimed the lives of 31 people. And 70 others were “still missing or unreachable”, according to the crisis center, a figure which has decreased in the last 48 hours as telephone contacts are reestablished.

The valley of the Vesdre, a tributary of the Meuse out of its bed under the effect of downpours and the saturation of a dam, concentrates at least half of the victims, according to local elected officials. Chaudfontaine, Trooz, Dison, Pepinster, Angleur or Chênée, near Liège, are among the devastated localities, where water has infiltrated everywhere, sometimes up to several meters in height. This is also the case for Verviers, where the King of the Belgians Philippe and Prime Minister Alexander De Croo are expected late Tuesday morning for the official tribute, in the presence of Walloon elected officials and officials.

The King and the Prime Minister will meet with rescuers and victims, before the sirens of the town’s barracks sound at 12 p.m. sharp, according to the program communicated by the Ministry of the Interior. The minute of silence will follow, which all of Belgium is called upon to respect, particularly in official buildings and public services. All flags will be at half mast for the day.

Recollection at the Tokyo Olympics

The Belgian athletes present in Tokyo for the Olympic Games will be in unison with their country, while in Brussels, buses, subways and trams will stop for one minute.

Since Friday, the water has gradually receded revealing a landscape of desolation: gutted houses, stacked cars, branches and rubbish piled up against bridges. The victims are working to clean homes and streets, helped by volunteers who sometimes come from abroad. At the same time, the emergency services are continuing search operations in the most affected places, and securing many buildings that threaten to collapse.

The national day of July 21 will be celebrated in a restricted way. The city of Brussels has canceled its “National Ball” and that of Namur, capital of Wallonia, its fireworks.

The strong floods last week also affected Luxembourg, the Netherlands and especially Germany, where the authorities deplored at least 165 deaths according to a provisional toll.

With AFP

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