ÜFloods also caused numerous deaths and serious damage in eastern Belgium. On Friday afternoon, the governor of the worst affected province of Liège announced the number of deaths as 23 people. At least 13 people were still missing. Most of the dead were in Verviers and in the neighboring town of Pepinster.
The two places are on the Weser, a tributary of the Ourthe, which rose sharply after the heavy rain in the previous days. They border on the German-speaking communities in East Belgium, which are also affected by the storms. The Belgian royal couple, who visited Chaudfontaine on Thursday, were expected in Pepinster that afternoon. Liège, which lies on the Meuse, was spared similar destruction. The water level stabilized there before the city was flooded, as did the upper reaches of the river in Namur.
In the small town of Pepinster, ten houses were swept away by the water on Thursday. An army helicopter was used there on Friday for the first time to rescue residents who were trapped in their homes. A lifeboat capsized on site on Thursday. Five firefighters were able to save themselves, but three other people who were supposed to be brought to safety were not.
The current was so strong that no more boats could be used. There are people who have been sitting on roofs for 36 hours without eating or drinking, the local authorities said. In the whole of Wallonia, more than 21,000 people had to get by on Friday without electricity and around 44,000 people without drinking water. The regional government released 2.5 million euros in emergency aid to help the hardest-hit communities immediately.
A man was killed in Verviers who tried to get his car to a safe place from the water, but was then taken by them. In Eupen, the center of the German-speaking community, a 22-year-old man was killed after jumping into the city stream with a lifebuoy, but being carried away by the pull of water.