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Flooding was likely a natural disaster

Published on 08/07/2005

8 July 2005

BRUSSELS — It appears almost certain that the flooding in Flanders at the start of this week will be classified as a natural disaster, Interior Minister Patrick Dewael has said.

Dewael said the Cabinet will probably not be able to decide on the matter before 20 July — when the political holiday period starts — but this can still occur in a written ministerial meeting over the summer months.

The Liberal (VLD) minister has received a series of questions from MPs from the storm-hit areas in West Flanders, East Flanders and Henegouwen, newspaper ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ reported on Thursday.

Dewael said he will put every effort towards obtaining a swift official recognition of the flooding as a natural disaster. This recognition is necessary for compensation from the government.

He said there appeared to be little doubt the flooding was not a natural disaster, basing his assertions on television footage and the amount of rain recorded.

Once the cabinet has decided the flooding was a natural disaster, affected residents will have three months to lodge a claim for compensation with municipal authorities.

Dewael urged councils to start gathering claims and evidence now. Provincial governors will be given extra staff to process the documentation.

Flanders was hit by a severe thunderstorm on Sunday night and Monday. Streets and houses were flooded. Weather bureau KMI has described the amount of rain recorded as “exceptional”.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news