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Flooding

Flooded street
Various factors can cause streams or rivers to overflow their banks or for the soil or the sewage system to absorb insufficient water, e.g. canalisation of rivers, blockages, road works, drought or frost. This can lead to flooding.

BEFORE

  • Inform yourself about flood-prone areas.
  • Keep your gutters and ditches clean and clear.
  • Provide waterproofing materials for the cellar hole, sewer drains, etc.
  • Provide elevation materials for the living areas of the ground floor and basement, for example bricks or sandbags.
  • Provide boots, buckets and floor squeegees.
  • Protect your important documents and your valuables from the water.
  • Make sure you know where to shut off the gas and electricity.

DURING

  • Do you need help from the fire brigade?
    • Submit your request via the online service 1722.be or the electronic form of your local fire district.
    • Call 1722 if this number is active.
    • Keep the emergency number 112 free for people in mortal danger.
  • Is there anyone who might be in mortal danger? Always call 112.
  • Limit your movements and avoid dangerous areas.
  • Use sandbags to make small dams for cellar holes, exterior doors, etc.
  • Remove carpets and place your furniture and valuables at a safe height.
  • Disconnect gas, electricity and water if necessary.
  • Park your car in a safe place. Do not leave it in your garage.
  • Make sure there are no loose objects in the garden that can be carried away by the water.

Do you have to evacuate?

AFTER

  • Clean your home and disinfect the damaged areas.
  • Air the rooms sufficiently but also heat them so that the humidity can escape.
  • Listen to the government's recommendations on the use of tap water.

 

Is there any damage?

  • Do you need help from the fire brigade?
    • Submit your request via the online service 1722.be or the electronic form of your local fire district.
    • Call 1722 if this number is active.
    • Keep the emergency number 112 free for people in mortal danger.
  • Do you not need help from the fire brigade? Call in a qualified professional or repair it yourself (e.g. fallen tree in the garden, damaged garden shed, hail damage to your car).
  • Take pictures of the damage. They can be useful for your insurance claim.
  • Contact your insurer as soon as possible. They will answer all your questions and help you start the procedure to process the claim.
  • Find out if the Disaster Relief Fund will intervene in your situation.

Impact and probability

Fluvial flood. Impact: high impact. Probability: likelyPluvial flood. Impact: low impact. Probability: very likely. Flooding from the sea. Impact: high impact. Probability: unlikely.In 2018, the National Crisis Center coordinated a large-scale risk assessment for Belgium for the period 2018-2023. Several experts assessed various risks based on their probability and their impact on people, society, the environment and the economy.

In this risk assessment we distinguish three types of floods:

  • Fluvial flooding: watercourses (rivers, streams, canals, etc.) overflow their banks, causing large areas to be flooded.
  • Pluvial flooding: as a result of heavy rain, the water is no longer able to drain away. Pluvial flooding causes flooded streets and can even cause mudslides.
  • Flooding from the sea. this type of flooding has an additional impact on the environment, as agricultural land and groundwater become saline.

Under the influence of climate change, this risk is expected to increase in the future.

For the risk of 'fluvial flood', the analysis is:

  • Impact: high impact
  • Probability: likely

For the risk of 'pluvial flood', the analysis is:

  • Impact: low impact¬†
  • Probability: very likely

For the risk of 'flooding from the sea', the analysis is:

  • Impact: high impact
  • Probability: unlikely

Read more about this analysis and what these charts mean.

What does the government do?

The regional authorities take various preventive measures to avoid flood damage, such as imposing building codes or providing flood plains or additional infrastructure (locks, pumping stations, etc.).

The regional authorities also continuously monitor the water situation. Based on observations, weather forecasts and thresholds, they try to predict the risk of flooding. When these thresholds are exceeded, they inform the local, provincial and national authorities.

If rising water leads to flooding, local and provincial authorities apply their special flood emergency and intervention plan.