2.1 C
December 6, 2021

Belgium reels from ‘worst flooding in 50 years’

At least two killed, one still missing.

Torrential rain across Belgium has caused floods and mudslides, killing at least two people near the French border. An elderly woman was trapped in her car, a pedestrian was carried off by the current, Euronews reported. A third person was reported missing: swept away by the floods as she tried to cross a bridge. The search was suspended as night fell, partly due to the force of the current.

Officials have described the flooding as the worst in 50 years. The national weather service said that Belgium had as much rainfall in two days as it normally gets in a month. The army was called in to help with emergency evacuations, including at one hospital. Many roads have become unusable. Several regions put emergency plans into operation. The area around Brussels has also been hit; a canal has burst its banks in several places. More than 200 houses had to be evacuated and a pharmaceutical factory closed due to flooding.

While the rain appeared to have eased on Sunday after downpours that began late on Friday, water levels continued to rise with floods and mud blocking several routes and causing people to be evacuated from their homes, according to the Independent Online. An entire hospital was evacuated in the central city of Tubize.
Central and northern areas activated their provincial disaster plans but Prime Minister Yves Leterme said it was not immediately necessary to deploy national disaster measures, with the situation under control. Around the capital Brussels, canals had burst their banks and 230 houses were evacuated at Leeuw-Saint-Pierre while pharmaceutical group UCB had to halt work at its flooded factory. Train traffic was temporarily disrupted, including the international Thalys and Eurostar lines, and the army was mobilised in some areas, reports said.

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