Villages in many areas of low-lying Belgium are still suffering the consequences of last weekend's heavy storms.
Villages in many areas of low-lying Belgium are still suffering the consequences of last weekend's heavy storms. In Ruisbroek, south of Antwerp, parts of the village are more than two-and-a-half meters (eight feet) under flood.
Water gushing from breached dykes nearby has made the original storm damage many times worse.
Several hundred people have already been evacuated from the Ruisbroek area and surrounding villages. Army and civil defence workers plan to move an estimated one thousand more, at present cut off from essential supplies.
The situation was made worse yet again in the district on Monday night (5 January) when floodwaters from the Antwerp-Brussels canal and a nearby river rose without warning.
The following day, Tuesday, angry villagers greeted Belgium's King Baudouin with cries of "We want bread" and "Repair the dykes" when the visited the disaster area.
Elsewhere in Belgium, salvage workers, insurance investigators and officials have predicted that the cost of the high weekend storms will run into millions of pounds ... a story echoed in other countries of western Europe. Britain, Denmark and West Germany were, with Belgium, among the hardest hit.
SYNOPSIS: Villages in many areas of low-lying Belgium are still suffering the consequences of last weekend's violent storms. In the small community of Ruisbroek, south of Antwerp, many parts of the village are under more than eight feet of flooding, after water gushing from breached dykes made the original storm damage many times worse.
The violence of the weekend's heavy weather took most people by surprise, and has left more than one thousand homeless, in the Ruisbroek area alone.
Troops and special rescue services have been called in to help with the evacuation of flooded homes and the distribution of emergency food supplies.
No-one knows for certain yet just when the floodwaters will abate ... or if the waters will rise higher still. Flooding along the Antwerp-Brussels canal and in a nearby river has just made the situation worse.
It's estimated that the total storm damage will cost millions of pounds ... and that's in Belgium alone. Britain, denmark and West Germany were also badly hit by the storm. Ruisbroek's inhabitants are angry they were given no warning, that the dykes have broken that food supplies have been held up. When King Baudouin arrived to inspect damage on Monday, he was greeted mainly by cries of "We want bread" and "Repair the dykes".