Snowstorms call for crisis management
Yesterday was marked by records. A majority of employees made it to work late and many failed to leave their home at all. It wasn’t hard to see why, considering the 1 600 kilometres of traffic jam during the morning rush hour and the worst railway delays in fifteen years due to heavy snowstorms in the night from Monday to Tuesday. Flemish mobility minister Hilde Crevits CD&V called an emergency meeting with the respective traffic institutions to determine what went wrong during the heavy snowstorms. According to the employers’ organization Voka, the day cost the economy 116 million euros. “According to our estimates, half a million Belgians didn’t go to work,” says Johan Grauwels. “Normally a working Belgian brings in 220 euros per day.” As it is, at least 60% of Belgians arrived late. The heavy snowstorms were predicted days ago and still it went wrong, both on the road and on the railways. Minister Crevits, who stressed that the weather conditions were exceptional, will discuss the matter with the Flanders Road and Traffic Agency AWV, the Flemish Traffic Centre, the automobile associations Touring and VAB and the transport federation Febetra. “I want to check if salt was scattered sufficiently and in due time on the roads,” she says. “And I want to try to find out what can be improved in future so that we can change the schedule of the winter plan if necessary,” she said.