Flood victims left waiting for compensation
23 June 2006, BRUSSELS — Just one in 10 victims in West Flanders have received government compensation a year after heavy rains and flooding.
23 June 2006
BRUSSELS — Just one in 10 victims in West Flanders have received government compensation a year after heavy rains and flooding.
In 85 percent of the 4,081 claims for compensation, an expert has not even assessed the damage or has not yet completed the necessary report.
This is despite the fact the federal government decided at the end of July 2005 that the heavy rainfall on the weekend of 4 and 5 July should be classified as a natural disaster.
The same classification was also applied to the heavy hailstorms of 15 and 16 August 2004 — a classification necessary to qualify for government compensation.
Victims were given until the end of November last year to lodge a claim for compensation, newspaper 'De Standaard' reported on Friday.
Almost a year after the July 2005 storm, just 636 claims for compensation from the 4,035 claims deemed initially sufficient to apply for compensation have been processed.
The problem has been blamed on a shortage of experts, sparking criticism from Christian Democrat CD&V MP Nathalie Muylle, who said the entire procedure should be completed within one year.
"In West Flanders, there are 21 experts. That is too few. These people do the work in their own hours, their own time," she said.
Victims will need to wait until the end of 2007 at the earliest before they receive government compensation. On average, it amounts to EUR 13,000 per claim.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news