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Relief efforts in Germany (top left), flooding in Belgium (top right), destruction in the Netherlands (bottom)

JULY 27, 2021

Severe Flooding Hits Western Europe

Severe Flooding Hits Western Europe

Sustained heavy rainfall, mainly from July 13 to 17, 2021, caused numerous rivers in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands to overflow, resulting in deadly flooding. The extent of the damage is still being assessed. The flooding is some of the worst these countries have experienced in a century.

Effect on Our Brothers and Sisters

  • None were severely injured or killed

  • At least 304 publishers were evacuated

  • About 100 homes have been severely damaged

  • At least 242 homes sustained minor damage

  • 11 Kingdom Halls were damaged

Relief Efforts

  • 4 Disaster Relief Committees (DRCs) were formed; 1 in Belgium, 2 for Germany and Luxembourg, and 1 in the Netherlands

  • Currently, the DRCs are organizing the cleanup work and remediation, which includes drying out homes and removing mud, as well as making some emergency repairs

  • The DRCs and local elders have also arranged for temporary shelter and drinking water for those who have had to evacuate

  • The circuit overseers in the area are providing spiritual and emotional support to the affected brothers and sisters

  • Virtual congregation meetings have not been interrupted. Branch Committee members are providing comfort and encouragement to the affected publishers

  • All relief efforts are in accord with COVID-19 safety guidelines

The elders in one congregation in the Netherlands helped an elderly sister evacuate. Afterward, the brothers contacted her son, who is not one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, to inform him that his mother was safe. The son later told his mother: “What a wonderful faith you are in. They take such good care of you!”

One fire crew in Belgium observed our brothers as they carried out their relief efforts. The fire crew commended the brothers because they were all using proper protective equipment and were well-organized. Likewise, a group of firefighters were impressed by our brothers in Germany because they willingly cooperated with the instructions of the firefighters. One of them said: “If only there was such a crew everywhere.”

The affected brothers and sisters are grateful to the organization for the help they have received. They are also thankful to the Governing Body for encouraging Jehovah’s people to be prepared for natural disasters. Ultimately, they are thankful to Jehovah, who makes his people “dwell in security and be undisturbed by the dread of calamity.”—Proverbs 1:33.