If there is one country in Europe that knows how to deal with water levels and dams, it is the Netherlands. Much of Holland would be below sea level if it weren’t for the system of man-made locks, dams, dykes and canals.
The current flood masses, which have led to destruction in Western Europe – above all in Germany and Belgium – are now reaching the Netherlands. For their own protection from the flood wave, thousands of people in the south of the country had to leave their houses and apartments in places along the Meuse. In Venlo on the border with North Rhine-Westphalia, a hospital with 200 patients was also evacuated as a precaution.
The Dutch also closed locks to protect their own areas from flooding. According to WDR, this is said to have led to a dam break in nearby Germany, where 700 people had to evacuate their apartments and houses during the night.
10,000 people on the run
In Venlo, the Netherlands, and neighboring communities, around 10,000 people were called to evacuate on Friday evening. Helicopters circled over the area to coordinate the evacuations. Luftwaffe aircraft monitored the stability of the dykes with infrared cameras.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte (54) visited Venlo on Friday and described the situation as “terrible”. Dutch media quoted him as saying: “Fortunately, there have been no deaths here like in Belgium and Germany. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen either. “
In Maastricht, too, many people had to leave their homes on Friday after the floods tore a hole in the dyke of a canal. The emergency services later succeeded in mending the hole to some extent.
Apple promises aid to disaster areas
The Rhine flows into the Atlantic Ocean south of the capital The Hague and west of Rotterdam. Due to flooding, the main river in Western Europe, one of the busiest waterways in the world, remains closed to shipping for some days.
In the meantime, Tim Cook (60), CEO of US tech giant Apple, has also pledged aid to the disaster areas. “Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the devastating floods in Germany, Belgium and Western Europe,” Cook wrote on Twitter. “Apple will support the relief efforts with donations.”