The first warning received by the Belgian authorities dates from July 10. It announced the imminence of a flood. 24 other alerts followed, yet the first evacuations took place on Thursday, July 15, reports Het Laatste Nieuws.
Fowing to the bad weather and the floods that Belgium experienced last week, some are wondering about the authorities’ late reaction. Our colleagues from Latest news tried to reconstruct the course of events. The first alert received by the Belgian authorities dates from July 10: flooding is imminent. Subsequently, 24 other warnings will be issued. The first evacuations will not take place, in Liège, until Thursday, July 15.
On Friday July 9, the European Flood Warning System (EFAS) is agitated for the first time. They see that the Rhine will emerge from its bed in a large part of the border region of Germany with Belgium.
The Meuse section, which crosses Belgium and the Netherlands, is also worrying. “On Saturday July 10, we sent the first warnings to all the competent authorities,” EFAS told our colleagues. “Over the next few days, we sent 24 more.” In 4 days, 25 alerts will be issued. “The question is to know what has been done with these”. “We certainly haven’t received them,” said David Dehenauw, head of the scientific department at MRI. “We are not subscribed to this system, their reports are sent to the regions. Floods are also a regional competence, we do not have the right to deal with floods at the IRM. “
So who did these notifications reach? At the Federal Crisis Center, at the Walloon Hydrological Management Department, in particular. The Region remains vague. When our colleagues ask the director of the DGH, if he has received reports concerning the Meuse, he refuses to comment further. “We have to do with the office of the Minister of Mobility”, responds the person concerned. A spokesperson for Minister Ecolo Philippe Henry assures us that their services have done all they could. “These alerts are only one parameter on which our services keep an eye”.
The IRM issues a yellow code on Monday noon in the face of forecast precipitation. 100 to 150 mm could fall on certain regions, including Liège and Luxembourg. In fact, more than 200 mm will fall. Very quickly, on Tuesday, the yellow alert turns into an orange alert. A sign that you have to prepare for possible flooding. There too, shortcomings were noted.
On Wednesday, the MRI went on red alert. The maximum alert phase is triggered at 6 a.m. Big problems are already encountered around the Vesdre.
Walloon Minister-President Elio Di Rupo (PS) promises that an investigation will be carried out, but does not specify when. “First, give us time to search for the missing people, clear the debris and give people shelter. After that, we will offer full transparency on all decisions. “