Cars, pavements washed away as Belgian town hit by worst floods in decades

Rainwater gushing down steep streets swept away dozens of cars.
Rainwater gushing down steep streets swept away dozens of cars.PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Rainwater gushing down steep streets swept away dozens of cars.
Rainwater gushing down steep streets swept away dozens of cars.PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Local residents cross a destroyed pavement after heavy rainfall in Dinant, Belgium, on July 25, 2021.
Local residents cross a destroyed pavement after heavy rainfall in Dinant, Belgium, on July 25, 2021.PHOTO: AFP
A municipal worker repairs the pipes of a damaged street in Dinant, Belgium, on July 24, 2021.
A municipal worker repairs the pipes of a damaged street in Dinant, Belgium, on July 24, 2021.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BRUSSELS (REUTERS) - The southern Belgian town of Dinant was hit by the heaviest floods in decades on Saturday (July 24) after a two-hour thunderstorm turned streets into torrential streams that washed away cars and pavements but did not kill anyone.

Dinant was spared the deadly floods 10 days ago that killed 37 people in southeast Belgium and many more in Germany, but the violence of Saturday's storm surprised many.

"I have been living in Dinant for 57 years, and I've never seen anything like that," Mr Richard Fournaux, the former mayor of the town on the Meuse river and birthplace of the 19th century inventor of the saxophone, Adolphe Sax, said on social media.

Rainwater gushing down steep streets swept away dozens of cars, piling them in a heap at a crossing, and washed away cobbles stones, pavements and whole sections of tarmac as inhabitants watched in horror from windows.

There was no precise estimate of the damage, with town authorities predicting only that it would be significant, according to Belgian RTL TV.

The storm wreaked similar havoc, also with no loss of life, in the small town of Anhee a few kilometres north of Dinant.