Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Belgian army called in to help with floods

Belgian authorities have called in the army to assist with emergency evacuations after severe flooding killed two people in the south-western Hainot province.

A 72-year-old woman drowned overnight near Beaumont after her husband lost control of their vehicle, firefighters said.

A second victim, who was on his way home, was found just metres away.

“This is a catastrophe for our region,” the mayor of Beaumont, Charles Dupuis, said.

A woman was missing after being carried away by the water, according to authorities in the town of Lessines.

Officials described the flooding as the worst in 50 years. The national weather service reported that in two days Belgium absorbed as much rainfall as it normally gets in a month.

Rivers and creeks overflowed in western and central Belgium causing basements and streets to flood in scores of towns and cities. Rail traffic was seriously interrupted this morning, but returned slowly to normal in the afternoon.

Local authorities called in the army and civil protection to reinforce firefighters who had been working overnight. Firefighters were handing out bags of sand in the affected towns and villages, hoping to keep the water at bay.

The situation appeared particularly serious in the Brabant region, just outside Brussels, and Hainaut province, where Beaumont and Lessines are located.

In Tubize, a town in the French-speaking part of Brabant, soldiers had to evacuate a hospital. Marie-Jose Laby, the province’s governor, said more rain was forecast, and the situation could deteriorate.

“The priority is to bring the people to safety,” she said.

Prime minister Yves Leterme said there was no need to declare a national emergency but said his government was following the situation closely.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.