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Cars washed away as Belgian town hit by worst floods in decades


Parts of Belgium have been hit by some of the heaviest floods in years – marking the second time in just over a week that downpours have affected the EU country.

The Namur and Walloon Brabant provinces, southeast of capital city Brussels, were among the worst hit on Saturday, after thunderstorms and heavy rain battered various communities.

In Dinant, within Belgium’s Walloon region, a two-hour thunderstorm turned streets into torrential rivers. Footage on social media showed cars and pavements being swept away by a powerful stream of rainwater.

“I have been living in Dinant for 57 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Richard Fournaux, the town’s former mayor, told the AP news agency.

Dinant, which sits on the banks of the Meuse River, was spared the deadly floods 10 days ago, which killed 37 people in southeast Belgium and many more in Germany, but Saturday was a different story entirely.

Rainwater gushing down steep streets swept away dozens of cars, piling them in a heap at a crossing, and washed away cobblestones, pavements and whole sections of tarmac as residents watched in horror from their windows.

No deaths were reported in the area, according to officials. Similarly in the small town of Anhee, only a few kilometres north of Dinant, no one is thought to have been killed – though there is a lot of damage in both areas.

There was no precise estimate of the harm done but town authorities have warned it will likely be “significant”, according to local media, while Sky News reported the government could be looking at “billions of euros” worth of repairs.

More than 210 people died in the floods across western Europe last week, with most of the casualties coming from Germany and Belgium. Dozens are still missing in the former, though officials have said they are not hopeful all will be found.

Over the past week, there have been reports of adverse flooding not just in Europe but parts of Asia too.

Many scientists have blamed the climate crisis for the increase in freak weather incidents such as flooding, warning that such events will become more frequent and severe as the emergency worsens – meaning countries will have to adapt.

One Denver, Colorado, man tweeted about the various instances of flooding affecting parts of the world at the moment.

“Q: Did you see the footage of flood waters carrying cars down the road,” Ashish Agarwal, who describes himself as a clean energy enthusiast, asked before answering himself.

“A: Which one? Germany? China? India? Belgium? Climate change is global.”


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