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Monday June 24, 2024

Belgium to mourn on July 20 as flood toll rises to 20

"These are very exceptional circumstances, without any precedent in our country," says PM Alexander De Croo

By AFP
July 16, 2021
Overturned cars and debris lines a road in an area destroyed by recent flooding in Trooz on 16 July 2021. — AFP
Overturned cars and debris lines a road in an area destroyed by recent flooding in Trooz on 16 July 2021. — AFP

BRUSSELS: The heavy flooding in Belgium is the worst the country has ever seen, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said Friday as he declared July 20 a day of national mourning.

"These are very exceptional circumstances, without any precedent in our country," he said.

Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden said the death toll from the floods had risen to 20 people, with around 20 people missing. Earlier media reports had said 23 dead.

More than 120 people have died so far in floods that have devastated large areas of Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

In Belgium, waters have begun to recede and torrential rains have ceased, but thousands of emergency responders are still at work.

De Croo said flags on Tuesday will be flown at half-mast and a minute of silence would be held at midday.