Belgium – Thousands Evacuate Floods as Death Toll Rises

At least 14 people have died and 4 are missing following catastrophic flooding in Belgium that struck after torrential rain on 14 July 2021. The worst affected areas are in Liège Province and also the provinces of Namur and Luxembourg.

Floods along the Meuse river in Liege, Belgium, July 2021. Photo: Ville de Liege

Hervé Jamar, Governor of the province of Liège said the Vesdre, Ourthe, Amblève and Meuse rivers were experiencing historical floods. Full damage assessments are still to be completed. As of 16 July, media had reported at least 13 fatalities in the province, with 3 people still missing.

The Meuse river in the city of Liege jumped from 1.2 metres on 14 July to 4.01 metres by early 15 July, prompting the evacuation of residents living close to the river. The city government said around 1,000 people had been evacuated, with the worst of the flood damage reported in the districts of Chênée and Angleur, which are situated in the south of the city close to where the Ourthe river meets the Meuse.

Evacuations were also carried out in neighbouring Chaudfontaine situated to the south of the city of Liège due to the overflowing Vesdre river, which increased by 3.5 metres in the space of 24 hours to 14 July. As of 16 July at least 3 fatalities were reported in nearby Trooz, while another person died in Aywaille to the south of Chaudfontaine.

Flooding along the Vesdre river also caused widespread damage in Pepinster and the neighbouring town of Verviers. A bridge and several houses collapsed in Pepinster. Three people were swept away and reported missing after a small boat capsized during a rescue operation. As of 16 July, 1 fatality was reported in Pepinster and 6 in Verviers. Further east flood damage and fatalities were also reported in Eupen, where the Vesdre river jumped from under 0.6 metres to 2.98 metres in the space of a few hours between 13 and 14 July.

Other fatalities were reported further west in Philippeville, Namur Province. Evacuations were carried out in areas around Rochefort.

In the province of Luxembourg, one person was reported missing after being swept away by flood waters in Rendeux.

More than 21,000 people are without electricity in the south of the country due weather damage to infrastructure. Drinking water supply has been interrupted in the municipalities of Huy and Marchin in the province of Liège. Rivers across the Walloon region remain above danger levels.

River flood alerts in Belgium as of 16 July 2021. Image: Voies Hydrauliques Wallonie
Levels of the Meuse river at Liege, Belgium, July 2021. Image: Voies Hydrauliques Wallonie
Levels of the Vesdre river at Chaudfontaine, Belgium, July 2021. Image: Voies Hydrauliques Wallonie
Levels of the Vesdre river at Eupen, Belgium, July 2021. Image: Voies Hydrauliques Wallonie

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