Victims of Limburg floods disappointed with damage settlement 10:02 in Binnenland Immediately after the disaster, Prime Minister Rutte promised ‘generosity’ in the compensation. Expectations that this created among victims have not been (partially) fulfilled a year and a half later.

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In the Limburg municipality of Meerssen, a dike broke after heavy rainfall
NOS News

Victims of the floods in Limburg in the summer of 2021 are disappointed in the claims handling. A new study commissioned by the Ministry of Justice and Security shows that the details of the compensation scheme were not always clear.

Immediately after the major floods in Limburg and parts of North Brabant, Prime Minister Rutte promised “generosity” in the compensation. The Disaster Compensation Act (Wts) that was created was supposed to ensure this, but its precise application did not always meet expectations.

The researchers of the report conclude that there is disappointment with the effect of the promised “generosity”. Carlijn van Helmond, involved in the investigation, says in the NOS Radio 1 Journaal that many people had a different picture. “The limits of the law have not been sufficiently reflected in the communication.”

Uncertainty about what would be reimbursed

The biggest miscommunication lies in the fact that victims are only compensated for damage for which they could not have taken out insurance. Many people assumed that the law would actually help them to compensate for uninsured damage, says Van Helmond.

After the flood, the total damage was estimated at 1.8 billion euros. At the beginning of this year, 2,100 applications for the central government’s compensation scheme had been processed and the total amount paid out stood at 63.5 million euros. Those who have received compensation are generally satisfied with the process. But not the others.

Dissatisfaction is particularly prevalent in the hardest hit area. Many residents and entrepreneurs in the South Limburg Heuvelland had not taken out insurance for extreme rainfall, but according to the government they could have done so. They could therefore not invoke the Wts. The same applied to victims for whom the compensation from the insurer was not sufficient.

Plasters pasted

Researcher Van Helmond says that additional arrangements were initiated last year to accommodate victims who fell by the wayside. “The government also realized that the goal was not always achieved with those Wts. Quite a few plasters have been stuck, but not everyone has been helped.”

According to Van Helmond, there are several lessons to be learned from the report. She believes that in the future, the frameworks and definitions of the law must be clearly communicated to victims. “In addition, a good discussion is needed about whether the Wts is the solution to this disaster. It is not desirable that a law is introduced from which many exceptions then have to be made.”

What happened again in the summer of 2021 in Limburg? NOS previously made this video about the floods:

Water shortage hits Germany, Belgium and Limburg in July 2021
  • After flooding in Limburg, government also reimburses for insurable damage
  • Flooding cannot always be prevented, Limburg has to live with more extreme weather
  • Interior

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