Kiwanis members help in wake of historic flooding

Vicki Hermansen | Aug 09, 2021

Belgium Flooding

When floodwaters rushed into the Liège area, members of Kiwanis clubs from all corners of the Belgium-Luxembourg District united to help.   

Kiwanis club members did what they do best, coming together to help victims, clearing rubble and debris, offering to help with cleaning efforts, preparing and distributing meals and bottled water, offering clothing and, most of all, lending a helping hand.  

Belgium FloodingAn eight-person coordination group was established to organize offers from other clubs and members who called to learn what they could to do help. The joint effort netted 40 tons of clothes, 2.5 tons of food, more than 20,000 liters of drinking water and pallets stacked with bottled water, coffee, milk, cereals and cleaning products and equipment. Donors even sent thousands of school supplies to help prepare the children for the beginning of the school year, says Michel Tefnin, Belgium-Luxembourg District governor-elect.  

One division managed two trucks equipped with 14 showers to serve the population.  

Members in the Belgium-Luxembourg District donated more than €35,000 to help with the recovery efforts.  

So far, Kiwanis members helped clean about 60 damaged homes in 10 different locations including Verviers, Pepinster, Stembert, Liège and Angleur, with help from 20 volunteers every day. Volunteers say the work continues.  

Bernard Altmann, from the Kiwanis Club of Uelzechtdall, said he visited the disaster site.  

“I was there three times and I was able to see for myself the consequences of the unimaginable destruction suffered,” he said. “It is not just the property damage, but especially the physical scars that will stay on longer and maybe forever. In Pepinster, I met a desperate woman who had just bought a small house. She renovated it herself with around €35,000 and now finds herself facing a big hole — without a house — but with debts. In Verviers, an elderly lady, estimated to be over age 80, asked us when she could come and take a shower in the shower truck. Unimaginable for us but current reality, these are moments that will stay in my memory for a long time.”

Altmann also serves as an ambassador for the Kiwanis Children’s Fund.  

While the urgent needs of residents have been met, much work remains to be done. Cleaning supplies, first aid equipment and supplies to help children who are returning to school are still needed. A new effort, K4Kids: Back to School, has been established to provide support to those in need. More information is at About 15 companies that manufacture and distribute school supplies are supporting the effort.


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