Death toll climbs to 37, over 12,000 Verviers and Pepinster residents need to find a new home

The death toll after the recent floods has been adjusted to 37. Over 10,000 Verviers residents and more than 2,000 from Pepinster will have to move as their homes have been badly damaged by the recent floods. Meanwhile, the Crisis Centre is warning people to take care when cleaning up their houses or streets. 

The death toll stands at 37 now, the Crisis Centre confirmed. 32 victims have been identified so far.  The good news it that the number of missing persons has been downsized to six.  

Many people will have to leave their homes. Both Verviers and Pepinster are situated in the Vesdre valley south-east of the city of Liège. Alain Barbier, the head of the local Vesdre police zone, says that 5,512 families have to move in Verviers.

Local police are going through rough times. On the one hand, they are making a contribution to the search for missing persons, but they also have to patrol the streets to avoid looting. On the other hand, many of them (or their families) have been affected themselves by the floods. 

The Crisis Centre has called on people to take care when they are cleaning up their houses, and to put on gloves. The mud or the water which is left may contain dangerous substances or chemicals, which were swept away by the water. 

"The floods were very powerful. Gardens, garages and basements were inundated and took away what was standing there. In this way, heating oil, dangerous cleaning products or other chemicals may have ended up in the water or the mud", says Yves Stevens of the Crisis Centre. 

It is not clear what the larger environmental impact may be in the long run. 

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