In Belgium, a “national mourning” was decreed this Tuesday for one day, an unprecedented tribute since the jihadist attacks of March 2016 in Brussels. King Philippe and Queen Mathilde gathered at the Verviers fire station, in the east of the country, one of the hardest hit towns, where they spoke with families and rescuers.
Before this minute of silence, sirens had sounded in barracks across the country. The king, moved, wiped a tear from the corner of his eye. The royal couple spoke with a pregnant woman who recounted in tears of having seen bodies carried away by the waves.
” Do not forget “
According to a still provisional assessment, heavy floods due to torrential rains, which engulfed dozens of houses, claimed the lives of 31 people in Belgium. 70 others were “still missing or unreachable”, according to the crisis center.
Since Friday, water has gradually withdrawn from the flooded areas. “The situation has stabilized” according to the crisis center and the disaster areas are accessible.
Gutted houses, stacked cars, branches and rubbish piled up against bridges: the recession and the return of the sun have revealed “an incredible setting”, in the words of Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, who went to Verviers like the royal couple .
“These images remain in my head (…) You can count on us to help you and not to forget”, wrote the Flemish liberal leader in an open letter made public on Tuesday.
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