Saturday 13 August 2022

Gas company NAM is liable for Groningen earthquake victims’ stress

A condemned and shored-up cafe. Photo: Graham Dockery

Gas company NAM is responsible for the ‘immaterial’ damage suffered by people living in the Groningen earthquake zone as well as the actual damage to their homes, judges in Assen said on Wednesday.

The case was brought by 127 locals who say they have been subject to stress and anxiety because of the damage caused by the earthquakes. Thousands of homes in some parts of the province have been hit by subsidence as the ground settles following the extraction of natural gas.

Research last year found that only 60% of householders felt safe in their homes after they had suffered quake damage.

Lawyer Pieter Huitema said after the verdict that he would now be claiming financial compensation at a follow-up case. ‘It could range from €3,000 to €30,000 per person,’ he said. ‘Experts will take a look.’

NAM, a joint venture between Shell and ExxonMobil, has already been held responsible for paying for the physical damage to property.

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