Today, our country is holding a day of national mourning to commemorate the suffering of the victims of the flood disaster and their loved ones. At 12.01, a minute of silence will be held across the country, which the government “asks everyone to respect as much as possible”. The national flag will therefore be flown at half-mast everywhere, and emergency and intervention services will sound their sirens. In addition, a number of festivities on the occasion of the national holiday on Wednesday have been cancelled.
King Philippe – together with Prime Minister Alexander De Croo – will hold a memorial ceremony in Verviers, a Liège municipality that has been badly affected. Minister of the Interior Annelies Verlinden, Walloon Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, Prime Minister of the French Community Pierre-Yves Jeholet, the Governor of Liège Hervé Jamar, and mayors of the affected municipalities will also be present. The group will speak with, among others, delegations from the fire brigade, paramedics, the Civil Protection, the police and victims.
Several organizations have already announced that they will commemorate the victims. For example, the vehicles of public transport companies De Lijn and the STIB will stop for one minute at 12:01 pm. In order not to jeopardize the safety of travelers and other road users, the bus, tram and metro drivers will then stop at their next stop. There they stop the engine for a minute. The other employees will also observe a minute of silence on Tuesday afternoon.
The NMBS will not stop the trains, but asks passengers and staff to observe the minute of silence. The natural disaster also had a huge impact on train traffic. The restart of train traffic in the affected zones will take weeks.
See you in Tokyo
Today radio and TV have adapted, sober programming. This is how the episode of the cheerful One quiz shifts Switch to tomorrow. There will also be an extra Journaal at 11.45 am, and all VRT radio stations will adapt their music. For example, the VRT radios, just like commercial stations Qmusic, Joe, Willy, Nostalgie, NRJ and the local radio stations of the Association of Regional Radio Broadcasters, will play the Editors song ‘No Sound But The Wind’ at 12 noon, as a sign of solidarity .
The athletes of Team Belgium will also hold a minute of silence in the Olympic village in Tokyo on Tuesday. That will happen at 9 a.m. local time. All Belgians present in the village were invited by the Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee (BOIC).
Finally, a number of festivities on the occasion of the national holiday on Wednesday have been cancelled. For example, the palace announced that the concert ‘Prelude to the National Day’ at the Center for Fine Arts in Brussels will not take place. The Bal National on Vossenplein in Brussels, which traditionally takes place on the eve of the national holiday, is also cancelled. The fairground vendors of the Brussels Zuidfoor will shut down the entire fair for five minutes in solidarity with the victims.