Belgium’s prime minister promised on Thursday to do more to combat climate change as the nation observed the one-year anniversary of disastrous floods that killed 39 people.

Last July, heavy rains caused major floods in Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands, killing over 200 people, destroying houses, and forcing many locals to flee on inflatable dinghies. The accident cost billions of euros to repair.

“One year ago, amidst the worst natural disaster our country has ever known, Belgium witnessed the birth of heroes,” Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said at a memorial event in the eastern city of Liege, which was heavily damaged by the floods.

De Croo, who paid homage to the affected towns’ citizens and rescue services, said the catastrophe should encourage more aggressive efforts to combat climate change, which scientists blame for more devastating weather throughout the globe.

“We promised ourselves a year ago that we would turn nature’s devastating anger into an extraordinary force for action… We can and must go much farther “He said to Reuters.

Climate scientists discovered last year that climate change increased the likelihood of flooding by at least 20%, reflecting a long-known concept that for every degree the atmosphere warms, it can contain 7% more moisture, increasing the likelihood of heavy rain.

On Thursday, EU climate policy leader Frans Timmermans suggested the EU should create an annual day of memorial for those murdered by climate change.

Source: Reuters


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