€50 million government aid package to help flood victims
The government has set aside €50 million to help those across Luxembourg affected by flooding that followed torrential downpours that forced thousands to evacuate their homes, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said on Thursday.
Heavy rainfall throughout the Grand Duchy caused rivers to top their banks on Wednesday night and early Thursday. The rushing water damaged homes and businesses, toppled trees that blocked roads and cancelled several train connections.
“We will consider the events of the last few hours as a natural catastrophe”, Bettel said during a press conference. “I am thinking of everyone who has lost things and memories”.
The money will be used to help flood victims pay for basic expenses, let businesses rebuild and restock and compensate farmers. Money will also be sent to stricken communes to help their recovery efforts, though it is not clear if that assistance will be part of the €50 million aid package.
“In a number of places, the level of water has decreased,” Home Affairs Minister Taina Bofferding said during the press conference. “But that is not the case everywhere.”
Water levels in Echternach, which saw the 5,600 people evacuated from their homes, began to drop around midday Thursday though the process could take until Saturday, Luxembourg’s emergency services said. Water levels were expected to start falling in the Sûre and Alzette rivers late on Friday, though water will remain high longer near Mersch and Ettelbruck, emergency response services said.
Luxembourg's emergency services said they received more than 6,000 phone calls and made 1,200 interventions since Wednesday afternoon.
By 02.00 on Thursday, an average of between 60 and 80 litres of rain per square metre had fallen over the previous 24 hours, the MeteoLux weather service reported.
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