People living in Groningen have less faith in government: research

Earthquakes in the north have damaged houses. Photo:

People in the earthquake stricken province of Groningen have less confidence in the government despite measures such as scaling back gas extraction and help to repair damaged homes, a long-term study into their well being has found.

Gronings Perspectief was set up in 2016 to measure the health and safety of people and communities inside and outside the gas extraction areas.

The 2020 research showed an improvement in mental well being but that is now diminishing thanks to red tape, researchers found. Many people are also pessimistic about the future.

‘The restoration of the homes is progressing too slowly, and there are lots of new rules and procedures,’ head researcher Katherine Stroebe told broadcaster NOS.

The situation could be even worse now, Stroebe said, because the latest survey was carried out just a month before an earthquake of 3.2 hit Garrelsweer.

The government also announced that  twice as much gas as expected may have to  be extracted this year to comply with contractual obligations with Germany.

Single helpdesk

The researchers are supporting earlier calls from the national Ombudsman for a single, designated helpdesk for people affected by the earthquakes.

The current situation means people have to first deal with the mining institute IMG to get damage to their homes assessed and then apply to yet another government department for compensation.

‘It is one one of the many procedures by one of the countless departments that are dealing with the problem, and it’s only making things more complex, particularly for people who are are not used to dealing with officialdom,’ Stroebe said.

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