(BELGIUM AND GERMANY) July 20, 2021 — July 20 was declared National Day of Mourning in Belgium in honor of the victims and missing persons of the severe floods that hit the country.
According to reports, Belgium received extreme rainfall starting from July 12 to 15, which left a trail of devastation to populated areas. At least 31 people died in the floods and 163 are reported missing. Searches are still underway in the affected areas, but rescue operations are almost complete.
To date, 37,000 households are without electricity in the provinces of Liège and Walloon Brabant. In Liège, the number dropped to 10,000 households but they are still experiencing great difficulty in accessing the facilities.
Flood waters also disrupted Belgium’s national railway network, Infrabel, stopping services in the French-speaking south of the country. There have also been numerous reports of interruptions to the power supply, broken pipes, or pollution of water catchments linked to surface water infiltration.
Authorities describe it as one of the greatest natural disasters Belgium has ever known. The water has largely receded, but the extreme devastation is gradually becoming visible.
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency in Belgium has deployed volunteers from the Adventist churches to assist survivors in the areas that were most affected.
“For safety reasons, the hardest hit areas were initially only accessible to the local population and emergency services,” says Sevil Yigit, communications and fundraising officer for ADRA in Belgium.
Yigit adds that ADRA, after getting permission to provide aid, worked with local authorities and social services to assess needs.
“The situation on the ground is dramatic,” Yigit says. “On July 19, we mobilized our teams of volunteers from various Adventist Churches in Belgium to help the victims of the floods in Verviers (Ensival). In addition to clearing debris and evacuating homes that are about to collapse, our volunteers also provided comfort and emotional support to the victims.”
The volunteer aid operations in Belgium will continue till July 21.
Floodwaters also affected regions in Germany, where ADRA has also deployed a team to provide aid.
“Almost 150 people have died, thousands of people are without electricity and water. If there is still clean water, it is polluted and not safe to drink,” says Matthias Munz, ADRA’s public relations officer in Deutschland, Germany. Munz also reports that many people lost everything.
“How extensive the damage will be is far from clear,” says Munz. “Your thoughts and prayers for those who lost their lives and for the survivors who must deal with this ordeal are greatly needed.”
Munz shared that ADRA will take over the coordination of operations, including logistics and the coordination of in-kind donations such as kitchen facilities to help individuals and families get back to recovery stage.
Updates will be provided as they are received.
Journalists who wish to secure interviews for this story may email press@ADRA.org.
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is the international humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church serving in 118 countries. Its work empowers communities and changes lives around the globe by providing sustainable community development and disaster relief. ADRA’s purpose is to serve humanity so all may live as God intended. For more information, visit ADRA.org.