A crisis meeting was called by Liège Governor Hervé Jamar on Saturday afternoon as the province braces for fresh rainstorms just over one week after last week’s devastating floods.
All services involved, from civil protection, firefighters and the army to shelters and buses, have been placed on alert and are ready to spring into action. An evacuation predictability plan has been put in place, Jamar announced on Saturday on RTL TVI.
“Evacuation is not being ruled out, but I don’t think it will have to take place to a great extent,” he said.
The fear of seeing a recurrence of last week’s floods is real, as in the most affected municipalities, drains and gullies have disappeared, embankments and protective walls have been damaged, and bridges are unusable.
The main worry now is that there could be storms and localised flooding of waterways, according to the national crisis centre.
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“We are watching the Vesdre river in particular, the centre’s spokesperson explained, noting that the drainage system there was severely damaged by the last floods.
Thunderstorms are expected on Saturday evening, up to about 10:00 PM, causing water levels in rivers to rise until late at night.
“It’s best not to stay home and take risks,” Jamar said, however, he said the situation in terms of the amount of rain that will fall is not the same as last week, but emphasised that he could not say “nothing will happen.”
The situation will be reassessed throughout the weekend, he added.
On Friday, the Governor issued a press statement advising residents to move up anything of value to the first floor and to move all vehicles parked on the road to high ground.
Meanwhile, weatherman Frank Deboosere has warned that the rainfall is moving northwards, and has emphasised that the Demer valley in the eastern part of the country, which was badly affected last week, could get the full brunt of it, however, he said the showers will be more localised, in comparison with last week, when "rain zones stayed over the east of the country for 48 hours."
The floods that devastated several regions in Belgium last week have taken the lives of 36 people so far, whilst 17 people remain missing.
The Brussels Times