Survivors are still being sought in the affected areas in Belgium. And here and there there is a bright spot that sparks hope. The story of 61-year-old Roland Noirhomme belongs to that category. He helped evacuate and sheltered three scout camps. Then he wanted to get his horses to safety. He succeeded, but in the process he got stuck in a shed that was surrounded by water. His son immediately called the emergency services, but they already had their hands full.
The water continued to rise and eventually the walls were torn by the force of the rippling water. Roland tried to keep calm, but was dragged along. He was only able to get his head above water three hundred meters away. He went under several times. Roland told himself not to fall into the riverbed under any circumstances, as he could injure himself on stones and rocks.
Roland’s rescue came in the form of a tree on the banks of the Aisne. He could grab on to a branch. His son had continued to follow him and shouted to him that they would come and help him. But it took a long time and hours passed. Roland kept calling and making noise to give a sign of life. It had even gotten dark by now.
At one point Roland saw lanterns and rescuers and was helped onto dry land. He had no fractures or serious injuries, but he was hypothermic. He was taken to hospital, but was able to return to his family the following day.
The man knows he was lucky. And is grateful for the fact that as a supplier to a brewery he has always had to do hard physical work. Otherwise he might not have lasted that long.