Belgium deplores this Thursday the death of thirty-seven people following the terrible floods which affected the east of the country on July 14 and 15. A final assessment communicated by the national crisis center which also reports the disappearance of six people, untraceable or unreachable.
The previous report Wednesday evening reported 32 dead and 18 missing. This brings the total of victims in Europe to 214, including the 177 deaths recorded in Germany, almost all in the west of the country.
Reconstruction will take years
Several days of torrential rains caused very strong floods at the origin of these floods of an unprecedented scale in both Germany and Belgium. In Belgium, the valley of the Vesdre in the hinterland of Liège (east) was particularly affected when this tributary of the Meuse suddenly came out of its bed causing the water level to rise by several meters in places.
Hundreds of houses are uninhabitable, especially in the municipalities of Trooz, Pepinster and Verviers. In this city of 55,000 inhabitants, more than 10,000 people will have to be relocated, according to the local police chief quoted by the Belga agency. On Tuesday, which was a day of national mourning in Belgium, the Walloon region (south and east francophone) announced the establishment of a fund to raise up to 2 billion euros for reconstruction, which will take years.
Global warming questioned
Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Austria a few days later were also affected by flooding even though no casualties were recorded in these countries. European leaders have blamed global warming to explain this episode of intense rains for several days in a row.
On Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated her call to “accelerate” the fight against global warming, deploring “insufficient progress” to achieve the set targets for limiting the rise in temperatures.