Emergency services on standby as West Flanders prepares for more rain

Emergency services are on standby as more rain is expected in West Flanders on Thursday afternoon. According to the latest forecasts, the province could see up to 15 litres of water per square metre, which would mean more flooding. The rest of Flanders is forecast to see up to 10 litres per square metre.

Based on the forecasts, the Royal Meteorological Institute has issued a code yellow warning - meaning intense rain showers or extensive and continuous rain - for the provinces of West Flanders, Hainaut, Luxembourg and Namur. The telephone number 1722 has also been activated for non-life-threatening situations, such as storm or water damage requiring the assistance of the fire brigade.

Preemptive evacuations

In the villages of Woumen and Merkem in West Flanders, about 25 houses were preemptively evacuated on Wednesday evening. Carl Decaluwé, governor of the province, urged residents to stay indoors. "Only go out if there is no other choice," he said. "Do not let your children play outside. Your safety and the safety of your loved ones is our priority."

The province of Antwerp has sent a team of firefighters, specially trained to rescue people who have fallen into the water, to help keep people in the area safe. The team was set up after the 2021 floods, in which 31 people died in Wallonia.

In East Flanders, the provincial emergency plan has been activated due to high water levels in the area. Residents are asked to avoid non-essential travel during heavy rainfall. Those who must travel should keep a safe distance and avoid driving on flooded roads.



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