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"Merci pour les sourires, pour l'humanité qui brille dans tes yeux."
Text on the fresco 'Solidaire' by artist Symbio"z Art in Kinkempois


I SEE HUMANITY SHINING IN YOUR EYES

In July 21 heavy rains turned lovely streams into torrential rivers that washed away houses, cars, bridges and roads and killed 41 people in the Belgium Walloon region. Many people were stuck for two days on their roof before they were rescued.

As soon as the water dropped, volunteers from other regions came to help. And it was mainly the Dutch-speaking Flemish who moved to the French-speaking Walloon region where the disaster took place. And that wasn't as obvious as it sounds. In Belgium society these populations rarely meet and mainly think negatively about each other. Even though they live in the same country. 

The badly hit village of Trooz, on the bend of the Vesdre river, became home to several groups of Flemish volunteers. They brought food, furniture, refrigerators and stoves. They did heavy construction work in shifts so that the bricks could dry. And they gave mental support when people were sick of living in circumstances that did not improve.

By December 2021 people still live in very unhealthy conditions. The houses are damp and cold. Mushrooms grow out of their walls. There is no hot water and no kitchen to prepare a proper meal. People are frustrated and angry because they don't receive help from the government and they don't hear from their insurance company. Many are depressed and tired of living in conditions that do not improve.

That's why the volunteers keep coming every weekend to help them. With the holidays just around the corner, they have done everything they can to make the dark days a bit lighter. With Christmas stuff, a Saint Nicholas and a Santa Claus for the traumatized children.