Devastating powers of the sea
Many people were woken up that night because of the water. They were shut in their own homes and had to try to save themselves. Houses collapsed because of the awesome power of the water. Telephone and radio communications were cut off.
On the morning of February 1st, the tide was finally able to retreat and the water level dropped. Some people seized the opportunity to move to higher areas, while others continued to take refuge on the roofs of their houses. There were individual rescue operations taking place. Villagers in boats were looking for victims and helping them get to higher land. The severity of the situation was still not known to the outside world, due to the lost road connections. It therefore took a while before large-scale rescue operations got under way.
The situation worsened when there was a second flood in the afternoon of February 1st. This flood cost even more lives. Because the dikes had already been breached, the water flowed into the polders with ease. Many houses that survived the first flood collapsed during this one. People and livestock were swept away by the fast moving water. Drowning people grabbed desperately to anything they could that was also drifting in the water, hoping to either be saved or reach higher areas. For many people though, the help came too late; for others, another cold, dark night fell.