Officials ask for government support after extreme weather in Leersum
In a letter to the prime minister, the province of Utrecht and the municipality of Heuvelrug asked the Cabinet for assistance in repairing the damage caused by catastrophic winds that recently hit Leersum, Valkenheid and a part of Maarsbergen. The storm made multiple homes inhabitable and about 730 hectares of forest were destroyed.
They wrote that the scope and intensity of the recovery are too great for the municipality, land manager and landowners to bear alone, ANP reported. Government support is therefore needed to rebuild the area. The Mayor of Heuvelrug, Frits Naafs, invited the Cabinet to come and see for themselves the havoc that the wind caused.
“Almost out of nowhere, an unprecedented storm broke out”, it was written at the beginning of the letter. “It was over in about 30 seconds. People took to the streets in bewilderment and saw the enormous damage. Like matchsticks, thousands of trees had fallen, snapped and been ripped out of the ground.”
The province and municipality also said they see opportunities for the future to combine local, regional and national efforts. Together with the National Park Heuvelrug, forest management and affected private estate owners, they want to commit to strategic forest management, increasing biodiversity, limiting flooding and strengthening the cultural landscape. “But that requires more than a bundling of local and regional forces, the province and municipality believe that several ministries can make a valuable contribution to recovery and rebuilding.”