Belgian flood tragedy makes for subdued national day

Belgium's Royal Family, from left, Princess Eleonore, Prince Gabriel, Belgium's Queen Mathilde, Belgium's King Philippe, Crown Princess Elisabeth and Prince Emmanuel attend a religious service at the St. Gudula cathedral in Brussels, Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Belgium celebrates its National Day on Wednesday in a scaled down version due to coronavirus, COVID-19 measures. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
Caption
Belgium's Royal Family, from left, Princess Eleonore, Prince Gabriel, Belgium's Queen Mathilde, Belgium's King Philippe, Crown Princess Elisabeth and Prince Emmanuel attend a religious service at the St. Gudula cathedral in Brussels, Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Belgium celebrates its National Day on Wednesday in a scaled down version due to coronavirus, COVID-19 measures. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

Credit: Olivier Matthys

Credit: Olivier Matthys

The floods tragedy in Belgium which left at least 31 dead combined with the year-long COVID-19 pandemic is making for a subdued celebration of Belgium’s national day

BRUSSELS (AP) — The floods tragedy which left at least 31 dead in Belgium combined with the year-long COVID-19 pandemic is making for a subdued celebration of the country's national day Wednesday.

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, wearing face masks, attended a religious ceremony in central Brussels. The public outside the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula were mostly kept at bay for health security reasons.

Even the national parade Wednesday afternoon was reduced in size out of respect for the victims of last week's unprecedented floods in eastern Belgium, which left a trail of damage and destruction in dozens of town and villages.

Apart from the 31 confirmed dead, security services are still looking for around 50 people that are unaccounted for or couldn't be contacted. Tuesday was marked as a day of mourning and the traditional party in the heart of Brussels to augur in national day was canceled. There will also be no fireworks to cap the national day late Wednesday.

Belgium's Honour Guards ride in formation outside the St. Gudula cathedral in Brussels, Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Belgium celebrates its National Day on Wednesday in a scaled down version due to coronavirus, COVID-19 measures. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
Caption
Belgium's Honour Guards ride in formation outside the St. Gudula cathedral in Brussels, Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Belgium celebrates its National Day on Wednesday in a scaled down version due to coronavirus, COVID-19 measures. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

Credit: Olivier Matthys

Credit: Olivier Matthys

Belgium's Queen Mathilde, left, and Belgium's King Philippe, center, arrive for a religious service at the St. Gudula cathedral in Brussels, Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Belgium celebrates its National Day on Wednesday in a scaled down version due to coronavirus, COVID-19 measures. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
Caption
Belgium's Queen Mathilde, left, and Belgium's King Philippe, center, arrive for a religious service at the St. Gudula cathedral in Brussels, Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Belgium celebrates its National Day on Wednesday in a scaled down version due to coronavirus, COVID-19 measures. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

Credit: Olivier Matthys

Credit: Olivier Matthys

Belgium's Honour Guards stand in formation outside the St. Gudula cathedral as the Belgian Royal family attends a religious service in Brussels, Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Belgium celebrates its National Day on Wednesday in a scaled down version due to coronavirus, COVID-19 measures. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
Caption
Belgium's Honour Guards stand in formation outside the St. Gudula cathedral as the Belgian Royal family attends a religious service in Brussels, Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Belgium celebrates its National Day on Wednesday in a scaled down version due to coronavirus, COVID-19 measures. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

Credit: Olivier Matthys

Credit: Olivier Matthys

Belgium's Royal Family, from left, Princess Eleonore, Prince Gabriel, Queen Mathilde, King Philippe, Crown Princess Elisabeth and Prince Emmanuel leave after a religious service at the St. Gudula cathedral in Brussels, Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Belgium celebrates its National Day on Wednesday in a scaled down version due to coronavirus, COVID-19 measures. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
Caption
Belgium's Royal Family, from left, Princess Eleonore, Prince Gabriel, Queen Mathilde, King Philippe, Crown Princess Elisabeth and Prince Emmanuel leave after a religious service at the St. Gudula cathedral in Brussels, Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Belgium celebrates its National Day on Wednesday in a scaled down version due to coronavirus, COVID-19 measures. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

Credit: Olivier Matthys

Credit: Olivier Matthys

Belgium's Honour Guards ride in formation outside the St. Gudula cathedral in Brussels, Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Belgium celebrates its National Day on Wednesday in a scaled down version due to coronavirus, COVID-19 measures. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
Caption
Belgium's Honour Guards ride in formation outside the St. Gudula cathedral in Brussels, Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Belgium celebrates its National Day on Wednesday in a scaled down version due to coronavirus, COVID-19 measures. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

Credit: Olivier Matthys

Credit: Olivier Matthys

Belgium's Royal Family, from left, Crown Princess Elisabeth, Queen Mathilde and King Philippe arrive for a religious service at the St. Gudula cathedral in Brussels, Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Belgium celebrates its National Day on Wednesday in a scaled down version due to coronavirus, COVID-19 measures. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
Caption
Belgium's Royal Family, from left, Crown Princess Elisabeth, Queen Mathilde and King Philippe arrive for a religious service at the St. Gudula cathedral in Brussels, Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Belgium celebrates its National Day on Wednesday in a scaled down version due to coronavirus, COVID-19 measures. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

Credit: Olivier Matthys

Credit: Olivier Matthys

Belgium's Honor Guards ride in formation outside the St. Gudula cathedral in Brussels, Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Belgium celebrates its National Day on Wednesday in a scaled down version due to coronavirus, COVID-19 measures. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
Caption
Belgium's Honor Guards ride in formation outside the St. Gudula cathedral in Brussels, Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Belgium celebrates its National Day on Wednesday in a scaled down version due to coronavirus, COVID-19 measures. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

Credit: Olivier Matthys

Credit: Olivier Matthys