Marnik Aerts

Parts of Kalmthout and Kapellen inundated: "We have never seen anything like this"

Last night's thunderstorms have caused problems in northern parts of Flanders especially. Kalmthout implemented the local disaster plan, as many streets got flooded. The Mayor will check whether the torrential rains can be recognised as a natural disaster. 

Kalmthout is a municipality in the north of Antwerp province, close to the Dutch border. Mayor Lukas Jacobs (christian democrat) decided to close a number of streets due to the heavy rain. Police asked local residents to stay at home if possible. "Driving is very dangerous, also because the the sewage lids can be pushed up by the force of the water", police spokesman Patrick De Smedt said. "And when cars would pass, they could force the water into people's homes." Kalmthout was speaking of an "unprecedented situation" in a tweet. 

Rainfall was at 70 to 100 liters of water in just two hours (this is more or less the equivalent of one month). Fire services received about 250 phone calls of members of local residents and companies. "We have never seen anything like this", Jacobs said. 

The local disaster plan will remain in force until this afternoon at least, to make things easier for local fire services, who are in for a busy day. "It's mostly about pumping up water from people's houses and from inundated cellars."  

Kapellen had problems in Putte, near the Dutch border. Federal police even closed the border for a while. 

Marnik Aerts