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Divers start searching for flood victims in Liège

Liège during the floods last week. Credit: Belga

A team of divers have been deployed to look for victims after last week’s floods in parts of Belgium, the National Crisis Centre announced in its latest update of the situation.

In the province of Liège, divers are searching for victims with the help of the federal police’s DVI (Disaster Victim Identification) team.

The official death toll as a result of the floods currently stands at 32. Another 18 people are still missing, and although police services are continuing their rescue and search missions, the chance of still finding survivors among the debris is now all but non-existent, according to Alain Remue, head of the country’s missing person unit.

Additionally, the clean-up operations are still in full swing, and the number of lootings has decreased due to the increased police presence in the affected towns.

The necessary work to restore electricity is also being carried out, especially in Pepinster, which was hit particularly hard.

In the province of Hainaut, in the town of Aiseau-Presles, there is still concern about the banks, which are seriously damaged. With new rainfall, there would be a risk of further flooding, according to the Crisis Centre.

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In the province of Namur, a platform is being set up at the provincial level to organise solidarity.

In the province of Flemish Brabant, the Demer river is subsiding, except for the section between Langdorp and Aarschot, where it is still rising very slightly.

Additionally, warning and alert thresholds will likely remain exceeded on a section of the Demer until the weekend. The waiting basins further upstream are still almost completely filled.

Lastly, in the Limburg province, the water level is still decreasing very slowly in Halen and Herk-de-Stad, but no problems are being reported for the time being.

However, the situation is being monitored closely in view of the expected rain this weekend.

In the meantime and now that part of the debris has been cleared, it became clear that thousands in the worst-hit areas will be left looking for a new home.

“The scale of the work is colossal, it will take years to rebuild, to heal the enormous psychological wounds,” the municipality Trooz, which received help from the military during the worst of the flooding, said in a press release.

“Despite the thousand volunteers who have been working in the town for almost a week, and despite the extraordinary outpouring of solidarity, the scale of the task is going to be Herculean,” it read, adding that the work has further been impeded by the computer servers being drowned.

For people who want to help, the easiest way is to make a donation to the Red Cross account number on BE70 0000 0000 2525.

People who want to help as a volunteer are asked to register on the Red Cross crisis volunteer platform, and not just go to the affected areas on their own initiative.