Heavy rain has also fallen on our southern neighbors recently, and the rain is expected to continue in the near future. The water level is therefore at risk of ending up in the danger zone in some places. The Belgian Meteorological Institute has issued a code yellow for West Flanders.
To prevent possible flooding from the Lie River, residents in parts of Ghent, Dens and Sint Maartens-Lathem can collect sandbags for free. The fire brigade recommends placing them protectively in front of doors and basement openings. Another tip is to move important papers and valuables to a higher floor.
The border between France and Belgium
Precautions had previously been taken around the Ijzier River. A regional contingency plan has been put into effect around the Franco-Belgian border. Water pumps, barriers and tons of sand should prevent flooding.
The extent to which this is sufficient depends on the amount of rain that will fall. Belgians also look at the weather forecast for France. Some water from northern France flows into the sea via Belgium.
The code is red
There in northern France, Code Red is currently in effect. They are suffering from the worst floods in decades. The rain has not stopped in the past few days. In some places, the rate dropped in almost as much as it did for the entire month of November.
Entire areas and villages were flooded. More than a hundred municipalities were affected, especially in the Nouvelles-de-Calais region. Residents must be evacuated from some places. Others are advised to put together an emergency pack in case they still have to leave their homes. More than 200 schools closed their doors for safety reasons.
Problems in coastal areas
The fact that the problems occur mainly in West Flanders and around Calais is that most of the rain in this part of the year falls on the coast. “The seawater is still relatively warm, which means more water is evaporating,” says meteorologist Mark de Jong of Boyneradar. “So there is more moisture in the air and that means rain on the coast. But this year it is very extreme.”
According to De Jong, the fact that you see problems more often after heavy rains in countries such as Belgium, France and Great Britain is because we took action in the Netherlands after the Maas River floods in 1993 and the nearby floods of the Riverineland. In 1995, when 250,000 people had to be evacuated. “Then, the Netherlands literally gave more space to the rivers. Other countries didn’t make such large-scale investments. As a result, they suffer more from floods,” says de Jong.
As for the rain: now there is a bright spot. This weekend looks to remain largely dry. The water may calm down for a while, and may even go down a little. But from Monday it will be subject to change again. The risk of further floods and floods is far from over.
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