"Flemish coast unprepared for super storm"

The environmental organisation Natuurpunt has issued a warning in connection with our preparedness for a super storm. Natuurpunt says that if such a storm were to occur on our shores, then people would be able to swim to Bruges.

The environmentalists are calling for broader sand dunes, more dynamic flood areas and the creation of oyster reefs off the coast.

Environmentalists and scientists gathered at the seaside resort of Ostend earlier this week to consider coastal defences against storms and the effect of climate change. Natuurpunt says that the Flemish coast can be adequately protected against super storms and the rise in sea levels in a completely natural way, but warns that this is not happening.

Natuurpunt's Joris Gansemans: "The whole coast is a built-up area and this makes it vulnerable."

Scientists predict that as a result of global warming sea levels will rise by up to 93 cm. Severe storms could become more frequent. Despite a wealth of research and planning the Flemish coast remains unprepared, Natuurpunt stresses.

Joris Gansemans: "Sand levels are being increased in order to protect the coast against storms, but this is not not enough. This can be done together with nature. It was what was done in the past. They used broad beaches and sand dunes. Oyster reefs were also laid out at sea. We believe this is a way of making the coast more beautiful and more adequately protected."