Severe rainfall: 9:00 PM curfew in Verviers, three missing as rescue boat overturns
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Severe rainfall: 9:00 PM curfew in Verviers, three missing as rescue boat overturns

Liège during this summer's floods. Credit: Belga

The city of Verviers has imposed a curfew between 9:00 PM and 6:00 AM to prevent looting, and three more people are missing in Pepinster after the area was badly affected by the floods.

At the moment, it is not yet clear whether the curfew in Verviers in the Liège province will only apply tonight. The measure was taken to prevent further looting, as various shops were already broken into in the past few hours, reports local news outlet Vedia.

In the municipality of Pepinster, also in the Liège province, three people went missing after a boat belonging to the fire brigade overturned during a rescue operation, according to reports in Belgian media.

The boat was carrying five firefighters and three residents of the area, who had just been taken off the roof of their homes.

“Two firefighters were immediately rescued and the other three, although still in a precarious situation, are safe,” the mayor confirmed to VRT NWS, adding that he feared the worst for the three people who are missing.

Also in Pepinster, a lifeless body was found under a partially collapsed bridge, the mayor said.

Additionally, divers and drones have been searching for a 15-year-old girl for several hours. She was swept away by the Ourthe river in the province of Luxembourg, but she has not yet been found.

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Additionally, the Defence Ministry’s rescue helicopters have to remain on the ground for the time being, and cannot start evacuating people from their flooded homes in the provinces of Liège, Namur, Luxembourg and Limburg.

Due to the weather conditions, the helicopters are not allowed to fly out yet, reports De Morgen.

Within the framework of the mission “Help to the Nation,” Defence has deployed numerous resources since Wednesday evening, such as vehicles and boats in Rochefort and Trooz.

Additionally, sandbags and camp beds have been delivered and the barracks are open to receive people and let them stay overnight if necessary.

Earlier on Thursday, the mayor of Liège city called on anyone who could to leave the city, or to travel to higher ground, with the aim to evacuate the city as the situation became particularly critical.

So far, at least six people have died as a result of the heavy rainfall and flooding across Belgium. A total of five bodies have been found in Liège, whilst one body of a young man was found in Eupen, in the eastern part of the country.

Update: This article was updated to include additional information by the mayor of Pepinster.