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Flash floods wreak havoc in Namur province, but no loss of life
Intense rainfall during a 30-minute period on Saturday evening resulted in torrents of water flooding roads, tearing up tarmac and sweeping away cars in the province of Namur.
Among the 11 municipalities affected, the city of Dinant suffered major damage, particularly in the Bouvignes area. A pile of washed away cars blocked a railway crossing (pictured above) and as roads were transformed into torrents of water, gas and fuel leaks were reported.
Dinant mayor Axel Tixhon specified at a press conference on Saturday night that the damage was only material. “Fortunately, no injuries are to be deplored,” he said.
Train services were already interrupted in the area following the devastating floods earlier in the month, in which 36 people died. While these were due to rivers bursting their banks, this latest round was largely the result of floating debris blocking pipes and overflowing drains.
The Walloon capital Namur was also badly hit. A collapsed wall in La Plante, south of the city, led to nearby homes being evacuated. The Bomel quarter behind the station was completely inundated after a normally-channeled stream overflowed. One shocked resident said: "After 10 minutes of rain, you end up in the cellar with two feet of water."
Spectacular scenes on social media showed cascading water rushing down streets and drain holes turned into geysers. Emergency services were taken by surprise by the intensity of the storm damage and quickly overwhelmed by calls. "It's a disaster. We are called from everywhere in Namur and we do not know where to turn," the NAGE rescue zone told RTBF.
The provinces of Brabant Walloon and Antwerp also suffered from heavy rain on Saturday evening.
More rain and localised storms are expected on Sunday afternoon with the current unstable front predicted to remain over Belgium until at least Wednesday.
Photo: Flooding in Dinant on 24 July / Belga © Richard Fournaux social media