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Storm damage across Flanders

9 November 2007

ANTWERP – As elsewhere in northwest Europe, Flanders was hit by high winds and heavy rain during Thursday night and Friday morning. The storm has caused damage at a number of locations across the region with wind speeds of up to 90km/h having been recorded.

A house in the Antwerp suburb of Merksem and another one in the East Flemish village of Schellebelle were both badly damaged by the storm force winds.

Meanwhile, water has flooded over the harbour wall in Central Antwerp and the famous pier at the West Flemish coastal resort of Blankenberge has been badly damage.

A total of ten people in Merksem were evacuated because of the storm.

A supporting wall of a house collapsed and fell on to the roof of an adjoining property that in turn collapsed.

The house has been declared unfit for human habitation and its residents are now staying with family.

Car park flooded
About 5 km away in the centre of Antwerp, a combination of the spring tide and the heavy winds forced water from the River Schelde over the harbour wall.

An area that is normally used as a car park was flooded. Police had asked motorists to remove their cars from the quayside.

However, there were still nearly 130 cars parked there at 9pm on Thursday evening.

Sven Lommaert of the Antwerp Police Service told journalists that the water is now subsiding and there was no danger of the cars being carried away.

Blankenberge Pier badly damaged
While relatively few incidents of major damage were reported along the Flemish Coast, the famous pier at Blankenberge was badly hit by the storm.

The far end of the pier was wrecked by high winds. Meanwhile, a shop window was blown in by the wind further up the coast in Knokke-Heist

Elsewhere, a bus had its windscreen smashed by a piece of fence that had been blown loose by the wind near to the East Flemish town of Wetteren.

The bus driver was slightly injured.

Train services between Halle (Flemish Brabant) and Brussels suffered some disruption after a tree fell onto the line.

[Copyright Flanders news 2007]

Subject: Belgian news