Monday 15 August 2022

Help dries up for people with Limburg flood damage: ombudsman

Map showing the flooded areas last year. Source: ANP Infographics

The government has not lived up to its promises to support people affected by flash floods in Limburg last year, according to the national ombudsman.

Studies showed that flash flooding caused even more damage than previous flood years of 1993 and 1995, and prime minister Mark Rutte declared the situation a national disaster.

Although this meant that people whose damage would not be covered by insurance could in theory get some financial help from the government, this has still not happened in many cases.

The national ombudsman, which checks the government in the interest of citizens, said the results of an investigation into communities affected by the floods shows there is ‘no question of generous compensation’, individual situations are not being taken into account, and there is a lack of speed and clarity.

Promise

One family with a daughter with disabilities, for instance, is still living in a house with a concrete living room floor, doors that don’t shut, and two floors that need removing – without a cent of government help paid out.

Another young family is still living in a holiday home because their property’s foundations need replacing. They say they have been sent from one body to another and back again, in a search for help.

‘After a disaster, people need a government that acts quickly, listens and takes care of things,’ said national ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen. ‘In times of crisis, the government needs to take measures to help citizens get back on their feet as quickly as possible…You need to do what you promise.’

He has called upon justice and safety minister Dilan Yeṣilgöz-Zegerius to sort out the issues and ensure that in the next crisis, promises are not made that are then not fulfilled.

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