VideoIn the hard-hit Belgian town of Pepinster, where some twenty houses have collapsed, 22 people are still missing. Four fatalities were found yesterday evening. Rescue workers heard one or two voices calling from the rubble around 7 p.m. However, hopes of getting someone out of the rubble alive are dwindling.
A rescue operation with sniffer dogs was immediately launched. They indicated one of the collapsed houses as the place where the still living victims could possibly be located. A little later, the search unfortunately had to be suspended again because it was getting too dark. “It is a delicate operation,” said the mayor of Pepinster.
The search continues today. Although rescuers are now fearing the worst, Sudinfo reports. After 7 p.m., no sign of life emerged from under the rubble.
The mayor of Pepinster, one of the municipalities hardest hit by the floods in recent days, has come under fire for failing to carry out mandatory evacuations. He himself says that the scale of the disaster could not have been foreseen. “We know there was a risk of flooding, but something like this has never happened before.”
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo visited Pepinster yesterday to support the victims and to get an impression of the damage. He did this with, among others, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Minister of the Interior Annelies Verlinden. “Our task is to help people regain their dignity after such a situation,” said the prime minister, who also goes to Eupen and Maaseik.
“We must also help rebuild this municipality, whose center has been completely destroyed,” said the prime minister. De Croo also pointed to the presence of von der Leyen. “The European Commission has resources that can be useful in the reconstruction. It is important to start that reconstruction as soon as possible.”
The Commission president said she admired the courage of those affected she spoke to in Pepinster. “I want to tell them that we, as Europeans, are by their side in this difficult time.” She also said that the European Union ‘stands side by side with Belgium in the reconstruction’.
Watch our videos about the severe weather in Limburg in the playlist below:
Free unlimited access to Showbytes? Which can!
Log in or create an account and never miss a thing from the stars.