Would the dike hold? That was in the evening, when the rising water had gripped South Limburg for hours and finally started to get a grip on the television programming, the biggest thriller on the NOS. Reporter Martijn Bink was standing in Hoensbroek, where a large water basin was about to explode. If the dike, “made of natural materials”, broke, millions of liters of water would flow through the village. A small tsunami threatened.
The bad weather overtook Limburg – and also most television channels. It took a while for the seriousness to sink in and the talk shows quickly pulled relevant guests from the rolodex. At two to ten in the evening, the NOS came out with an extra news. This was well-intentioned, but rather improvised: there was virtually nothing new to report at the time, and the news reported that the Roer, which was about to burst its banks, was located in the south of the province. mistake.
It must be said: the NOS was there early. First Hasan Coskun was on site as a reporter, later Martijn Bink was allowed to brave the showers for hours. Behind Bink the water looked more and more turbulent, he wore a new raincoat in every broadcast and his shoes also drowned, as he showed. You feared that Bink would be waist-deep in water by the morning news, but he remained sober. “When the water comes, it comes,” he said news hour.
Hard work swallowed up
It is the challenge of disaster television in slow motion. The disaster is already underway, it could get worse, but standing water doesn’t make the heart beat faster. The seriousness only became clear in the stories of the affected residents. A bed and breakfast in Heerlen from which the owners fled swimming through the kitchen. A husband and wife who had remodeled their home, just finished, and now saw their hard work swallowed up by the murky water.
The indicative work was done in the talk shows. Bee Humberto (RTL) was switched live with a reporter from regional broadcaster L1 at the scene of the accident. Weatherwoman Marjon de Hond explained in a nuanced manner in the studio what the connection was with climate change: that was not one-on-one, but climate change does cause more weather extremes such as these downpours. We still have something to look forward to.
On 1 called the same reporter from L1, the mayor of Heerlen, two restaurateurs affected in the region and a dyke. There too, the mix of human suffering and complex matter worked out well. The restaurateurs described the damage, the dike warden explained how you could tame rivers with smart policy. Weatherman Reinier van den Berg, who joined the studio, showed in a few graphs how high the need was already, “and it will get worse”.
It offered hope for the climate reporting of the future. Climate change is the greatest story of this era, but not an easy one to beat. There are plenty of good reporters and experts, it turned out. Now some more urgency. With the pinnacle: L1.
Light-hearted Tour Review
Although the regional station had reported on the rising water all day long and was present at both Op1 and Humberto calling in, it failed on its own channel at that moment. Instead of a continuous news broadcast, the viewer was treated to a repeat of Tour de L1mbourg, a light-hearted Tour review on the lines of The Evening Stage, this evening broadcasted from a (not flooded) South Limburg wine cellar.
At the table it was about cycling pleasure and the beauty of the race, while at the bottom of the screen in a flashing news bar you could read that houses in the province were in danger of being flooded and bridges were closed. I couldn’t help but think of the orchestra on the Titanic.