The Cyclone Bernd: Central Europe Has Become a Disaster Zone
Dead and missing; dozens of destroyed homes, thousands of evacuated people, washed out railways and stalled transport links - Belgium is facing its worst flood in years. The Council of Ministers, which met for an emergency meeting on Thursday, said it had never been seen here. A request for help was sent to neighboring countries - the European Commission promised to mobilize equipment to be sent to the disaster zones. The Kingdom has activated a federal emergency plan.
Additional equipment, helicopters, boats and drones will come to the aid of the police, firefighters and military, who have been carrying out the rescue operation since the beginning of this week, to search for the missing.
The situation is complicated by the fact that due to the disaster, work had to be suspended in some regions of the country. The military helicopters had to stay on the ground after lunch.
In the destroyed Pepinster, people were evacuated by boats. One of them sank - three rescuers on board were reported missing.
A curfew has been imposed in Verviers for security reasons.
The greatest danger is posed by open water bodies. The water level in rivers and lakes rose above the critical level, and whole settlements were washed away with powerful streams. The Mayor of Liege on Thursday evening asked residents to leave the houses located by the Meuse River, to evacuate without delay - the water level rose by more than 2 meters. The neighboring Netherlands also prepared for the exit of the Meuse from the shores.
In Germany, dozens of deaths due to the disaster have been confirmed, and even more are missing. An emergency regime has been declared In the Rhine-Erft area. Cases of looting have been reported in some of the affected regions.