Farmers: €500 million storm damage a “national disaster”

Hail in Venray, Limburg on 23 June 2016 (Photo: @SuperSaartje/Twitter)Hail in Venray, Limburg on 23 June 2016 (Photo: @SuperSaartje/Twitter)

Farmers' associations ZLTO and LLTB wants the government to classify the storms that caused large amounts of damage in Limburg, Noord-Brabant and Gelderland last week a natural disaster. The associations hope that doing so would increase the chances of affected farmers to get assistance, the Telegraaf reports.

"What happened here last week can certainly be labeled a disaster", Limburg farmers' organization LLTB chairman Leon Faasen said to the newspaper. "And it is not over yet, because it is still raining. Many entrepreneurs need help to save their business, otherwise they will literally sink."

On Friday ZLTO estimated the damage throughout Brabant to be at least 100 million euros. By Monday the damage estimation increased significantly - in Someren alone, the damages incurred by farmers and gardeners are estimated at 500 million euros.

Meanwhile agricultural insurance companies received about 130 million euros in claims, according to the Association of Insurers. Most of these claims came from Limburg and Noord-Brabant. Private damage is not included in this estimation.

The problem is that many farmers are not properly insured against weather damage and may therefore not be compensated. On Monday there was a meeting between the Ministry of Economic Affairs, insurers and farmers' organizations about what to do about this. The farmers' associations fear that without financial aid from The Hague, many companies will go bankrupt.