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Flood update: free public transport for victims, clean-up to take 12 months
Victims of the floods that ravaged through several provinces of Belgium last month will be able to access all public transport until the end of October. All public transport systems in Belgium – SCNB, Stib, TEC and De Lijn – are collaborating on the ‘solidarity pass’.
“The floods of 14, 15 and 16 July and their terrible consequences in human and material terms leave no one indifferent,” said SCNB in a statement. “In addition to this human and material toll, public transport companies are aware of the mobility problems caused by this situation, especially with the start of the school year ahead.”
Free travel passes will be available to anyone whose home has been declared uninhabitable or whose car has been lost or wrecked. Requests for the passes must be made to the local municipality, which will approve requests and issue the passes.
In addition, Stib has announced that anyone living in a flood affected area who lost their Mobib card can get a new one for free. It will be loaded with whatever subscription the transport user had previously purchased.
A year to clean up
Wallonia’s environment minister, meanwhile, has said that it will take about a year to clean up the 155,000 tons of rubbish that continues to be collected and piled up following the floods. Currently debris is being collected in Wandre, an outer district of Liège, and along the A601, a five-kilometre motorway closed to traffic since 2014.
The mountain of rubble that has been formed in Wandre is the biggest hindrance to residents, so it will be a priority for clearing out, said minister Céline Tellier (Ecolo). Between one-fifth and one-third of the debris will be sorted for recycling, she said, and the rest burned or put in landfills.
In related news, the Royal Meteorological Institute has confirmed that this will be the wettest summer in Belgium on record. In weather terms, ‘summer’ is defined as being from 1 July to 31 August.
While the summer isn’t over yet, there has already been 361mm of precipitation this summer. The record, from 1992, is 365mm, so the record will surely be broken. An average summer period sees 234mm of rain.
Photo ©James Arthur Gekiere/BELGA