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BelgiumEuropean Royals

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde visit province devastated by floods

Copyright by World Economic Forum/Faruk Pinjo

Bad weather has been affecting the Germany-Belgium-Netherlands area for about two days, and damage is already evident. 

And while Germany seems to have the highest price to pay, Belgium’s Liège province seems to be heading for disaster as well. 

Their Majesties King Philippe and Queen Mathilde travelled there on Thursday afternoon and visited a shelter that welcomed people who had to be urgently evacuated because of severe flooding in their residences. 

They also visited a first response coordination centre and listened to firefighters, police, and volunteers’ struggles, as well as the forecast for the next few days.

Thursday was a challenge for first responders since visibility was below the line considered safe to fly, and therefore air rescues were halted in fear of helicopter accidents. On Friday morning, the Ministry of Defense has deemed the conditions safer to fly in, and therefore a first helicopter has departed from Brussels to help in the rescue missions of people stranded in flooded areas. 

As of 11:30 am this morning, 15 people have died in Belgium because of the bad weather, and it has been announced a short time ago that their Majesties will visit the city of Pepinster around 3:30 pm today. 

It is unclear at this point when the weather will get better, and, since the numbers are constantly changing, it is also impossible to give a definite number of how many people have died and how many are unaccounted for. 

Such floods and windstorms, rain and mud avalanches are extremely rare, especially during the European summer. However, climate change made it possible for such catastrophic events to happen. 

This is why Their Majesties have long been involved in the fight against climate change, and why this topic will be one of the focuses of the economic mission Princess Astrid will undertake in the United States of America later this year. 

Please note this is a developing story. More information will be shared once it becomes available.