As if we have gone back in time more than a hundred years. Drone images taken on Thursday showing the Westhoek under water are reminiscent of 1914. Then the Germans were the problem, now the heavy rainfall.
The inundation of October 1914. For example, history books mention the strategic intervention during the First World War to flood the Yser Plain in an attempt to prevent the advance of the German army.
In November 2023, or more than 109 years later, the same IJzervlakte will be flooded again. This time it has nothing to do with the Germans, but with the heavy rainfall. “Chain collisions, railway accidents… I have experienced a lot here, but never anything like this,” says West Flemish provincial governor Carl Decaluwé about the flooding. “90 cubic meters of water per second. Quite spectacular.”
No wet feet yet
Fortunately, the affected zones are flood areas and for the time being no one is left with wet feet. “Fingers crossed. The situation does indeed appear to be under control at the moment,” said Decaluwé. “We did everything we could. We delivered 30 tons of sand in sandbags, we deployed extra pumps, we received help from the Civil Protection… Normally it should be enough to get through the night safely, although unfortunately the real peak is not expected until Friday around noon. That is why another crisis center is planned for this morning.”