Belgian party calls for investigation into deadly floods

BRUSSELS (AP) — A political party in Belgium on Monday requested the appointment of a parliamentary commission to investigate the deadly floods that ravaged several towns in the country earlier this month.

The Humanist Democratic Centre (CDH) said it does not want to launch a “witch hunt” but hopes to shed the light on the disaster that killed 37 people in Belgium and left several missing. Together with the deaths in Germany, the death toll from the flooding exceeded 210.

Meanwhile, groups of Belgian citizens are considering taking legal action against the state for its alleged failure to protect them.

“The urgency remains to help the victims, and all the efforts must be directed currently on the management of the crisis,” the CDH party said.

The party wants the parliamentary commission to be set up in Belgium’s flood-stricken French-speaking Wallonia region to “avoid the risk of repeating such a disaster in the future.”

In a separate action, residents living in towns close to the eastern city of Liege that were ravaged after the Vesdre river spilled its banks, called for an independent investigation.

Bruno Liesse, from the group People against Flows, told Belgian media that the group is thinking about pursuing a criminal complaint for involuntary manslaughter.

Liesse thinks the mishandling of river systems amplified the flooding from heavy rainfall. Several experts have suggested that lowering the water level at the Vesdre dam after forecasters issued weather warnings would have prevented a lot of damage in nearby towns.

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