Belgium: "exceptional" floods in Liège, the population invited to evacuate the banks

The level of the Meuse, already in flood, will continue to rise in the coming hours, threatening many homes near the river in Liège, in eastern Belgium. This Thursday, July 15 in the afternoon, the inhabitants under the threat of flooding were called to evacuate the premises.

→ EXPLANATION. Are floods linked to climate change?

“They are advised to head for the heights of Liège. If evacuation is no longer possible, citizens are recommended to go upstairs and not take any risks ”, specifies this message from the authorities relayed to the media. The level of the Meuse, already in flood, could rise further“1.50 m in the next few hours. “

Liège, which has around 200,000 inhabitants, is the fourth most populous city in Belgium. The districts affected by the evacuations are those of Coronmeuse, Saint-Léonard, Outremeuse and the city center. “The flood will take on a very dangerous character in Liège itself”, declared this Thursday in front of the regional Parliament the president of the Walloon region, the ex-Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo.

Six dead in the country, many cities affected

The Meuse, near Liège, is the receptacle for water from the vast majority of rivers in southern and eastern Belgium. These rivers, in particular the Ourthe and the Vesdre, have seen their flow enormously increase with the torrential rains of the last few days.

Municipalities bordering these rivers have been under water since Wednesday, in the regions of Liège and Verviers, in particular Theux, Pepinster or the spa town of Spa. Much of the town of Angleur, bordering Liège on the banks of the Ourthe, was also inundated.

According to Belgian media, these floods caused the death of at least six people in the country, including four in the only arrondissement of Verviers (East). The army was deployed in four of the ten provinces of the country (Liège, Namur, Luxembourg, Limbourg) to participate in the relief efforts and in particular in the numerous evacuations.

Engie has increased its level of vigilance for the Tihange nuclear power plant, where the risk of flooding “Stay under control”.

At least 42 dead in Germany

Other European countries have been affected by torrential rains and floods, such as Luxembourg and the Netherlands. But it was in Germany that the bad weather was most severe. They led to flooding and house collapses that killed at least 42 people, according to the latest report established in the afternoon by local authorities.

The toll could grow even worse. Thus in the municipality of Schuld, south of Bonn, where six houses along the river have collapsed, the police count between 50 and 60 missing. Residents have been asked to send police videos and photos that could provide clues about their missing loved ones.

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