Several initiatives launched to provide help to victims of flooding

Several initiatives launched to provide help to victims of flooding
Victims of flooding in Wallonia, which damaged and destroyed hundreds of social housing units. Credit: Belga

Several initiatives have been launched across Belgium to provide help and items to people who fell victim to the floods which have been tormenting various regions across the country this week.

The last confirmed death toll as a result of the flooding was 19, however, according to Walloon press, this could be as high as 23 now, whilst at least 19 people are still missing. Across the country, hundreds have had to evacuate their homes, whilst thousands of properties have been damaged.

On Thursday, Brussels Minister-President said on Twitter that the regional government is investigating how it can support Wallonia and Flanders.

"We are greatly affected by the catastrophe that is hitting our country. Our thoughts are with all those affected," he added.

In Brussels, which remained largely unaffected by the flooding in comparison with the other regions, spontaneous actions of solidarity have been launched, asking people to donate clothes, money and other items to the victims of flooding.

Almost all local municipalities have set up collection points, including Evere, Ixelles, Anderlecht, Schaerbeek and Koekelberg, which is collecting various items, from blankets and personal hygiene products to mobile phone chargers, for the residents of Trooz, a town located south of Liège, which was particularly badly affected by the floods.

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Many authorities have also decided to send teams of workers to provide assistance in the worst affected regions.

"When the water has subsided completely, the clearing and cleaning of the roads can begin. Hands are welcome," a press release from the Koekelberg authorities stated.

Ghent has announced it will start a crowdfunding campaign among its residents and businesses to help the victims by making contributions to its flooding fund, whilst it also wants to provide financial help itself.

"The images we have seen speak volumes, the needs are great and the solidarity is too," Mayor Mathias De Clercq said.

Various sporting clubs and sports fans have also organised collection points, including Molenbeek's football club RWDM, of which the members of its club and supporters will make themselves available to help anyone who has been affected by the flooding.

Meanwhile, Flemish Minister for Nature Zuhal Demir announced on Twitter that the Flemish agency Natuur en Bos is making its still available campsites available to youth organisations that are forced to look for a new campsite as a result of the flooding, as dozens of them had to evacuate from their original camp locations.

The crisis situation in the country has also encouraged individual people to do their part, and one man from Oostende, Jimmy Defrenne, has said that on Monday, he will be taking his bus to Spa in Wallonia, which was particularly badly affected, to help affected families.

"It is the least we can do for those people, this must be terrible," Defrenne, who himself was a victim of flooding a few weeks ago, told Het Nieuwsblad. 

"We also lost a lot, but what we have experienced is nothing compared to what they are going through in the Ardennes at the moment," he added, saying residents in this region can use all the help they can get.

Meanwhile, more than 150 rescue workers from France, Italy and Austria have been sent to Belgium to help with the aftermath of the flooding since Belgium asked for help through the so-called European Civil Protection Mechanism on Wednesday.

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