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Germany and Belgium have seen the worst floods in years. Twitter

Army called on to stop looting after floods in Belgium

While citizens in various disaster-stricken municipalities in Wallonia have tried to help and support each other, others have taken the opportunity to commit malicious acts. The mayor of Esneux, Laura Iker, also indicated that the town had made a request to the governor of Liège on Tuesday to deploy the army. In several municipalities, looting and theft were seen.

Published: July 21, 2021, 11:53 am

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    “We asked the governor for help from the military as the police zone alone cannot increase its numbers which are already being used to their maximum capacity. We are waiting for a response that we hope will be positive,” said the mayor. On Tuesday evening, around 6.30 pm, the town had not yet received an answer.

    A solution, far from being optimal, was therefore taken by the authorities to avoid further inconvenience: “A private company will take care of monitoring the streets, but that is not enough to counter this phenomenon. Several thefts have been observed in the town and people are circulating during the night. For example, the Tourist Office was ransacked,” added Iker, who said she still hoped for a rapid intervention from the governor of Liège.

    The same criminality was observed in the town of Trooz, where the scenes of devastation were indescribable: “Some people act without scruple and we have therefore hired a company to carry out patrols during the night. A curfew, for an indefinite period, was established from 11:00 pm to 6:00 am to prevent risks of looting and damage,” explained mayor Fabien Beltran. People have already been arrested.

    In Chaudfontaine, attempted thefts were also noted, especially near Vaux-sous-Chèvremont on Monday evening. Daniel Bacquelaine, the mayor, said that several people were surprised by the police.

    Wallonia is a curious example of being extremely pro-immigration, but yet Wallonians hold a lot of negative views towards people who come from Flanders, particularly because they feel threatened by their economic success. In 2020, a study  analyzed election results from 80 000 regions in the EU. It showed that the high proportion of migrants in Belgium did not result in the rejection of immigration in Wallonia. The Flemish were notably against immigration.

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    • LuciusAnnaeusSeneca

      This article does not mention the identities of the looters that were arrested. However, in Germany, those with a so-called ‘migrant’ background have been among those arrested by police there. Regardless of who they might be, however, looters in time of disaster are a symptom of the breakdown of society and the inability of the authorities to protect citizens’ property. It is due to poor disaster response planning, which it seems has gone hand in hand with poor flood prevention and control planning. While the extreme weather is blamed for the flooding, flood prevention/control has often failed to keep up with ever more development, with new housing and infrastructure, approved by local authorities.

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