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Estimated cost of flood damage doubles to €120 million

Estimated cost of flood damage doubles to €120 million

by Julie EDDE 2 min. 23.07.2021 From our online archive
Insurers have raised their forecast for the total bill after receiving 6,000 reports of damage to property
A clean-up operation near Vianden Castle following last week's floods
A clean-up operation near Vianden Castle following last week's floods
Photo credit: Gerry Huberty

The estimated cost of the damage caused by torrential flooding which hit Luxembourg last week has doubled and now stands at €120 million, according to the trade association for insurers.

Luxembourg insurers have registered reports of damages to 6,000 homes and 1,000 vehicles in the aftermath of the downpours.

"These amounts demonstrate the extent of customer losses caused by natural disasters and far exceed the insurance premiums collected to cover these risks," said Marc Hengen of the ACA (l'Association des Compagnies d’Assurances et de Réassurances), which represents 141 members. 

From an insurance perspective, the torrential rains of July 14 and 15 are the most expensive in the history of the industry in Luxembourg, insurers said in a press release earlier this week.  

Over the last three years, insurers have paid €230 million for claims generated by natural disasters: the Ernz Valley disaster in 2018, the 2019 tornado in Pétange and Bascharage and thunderstorms in June 2021.

Clean-up operations following last week's flooding are still underway and the Luxembourg government has announced it will provide €50 million in assistance to those affected.

"The local authorities will also be supported by the state, in particular for infrastructure damages that are not protected by insurers," the government said in a press release issued on Friday.

Some residents in areas hit hardest by the heavy flooding said they had expected more detailed guidance than the warnings which were posted on government websites or broadcast on radio.

The current phone notification warning system, called "GouvAlert" and created by the government a few years ago, is not efficient, the minister for home affairs Taina Bofferding acknowledged earlier this week during a meeting with deputies from the parliament's home affairs commission.

Just 15,000 people are believed to be subscribing to the alert system, according to the minister. One of the reasons given for the low uptake is that many elderly residents do not have a smartphone, which is required to download the mobile application.

Deputies at the commission meeting were critical of aspects of the government's preparation, saying that weather forecasts from Meteolux had not been shared widely enough with the public.  

Alarm sirens are reserved for a nuclear disaster incident, Bofferding said, when asked by deputies whether they could have been used instead.

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