Tens of thousands to get compensation for Groningen earthquakes
Tens of thousands of Groningen residents are still eligible for compensation for earthquake damage. This is reported by the Groningen Institute for Mining Damage (IMG), which will offer a one-time fixed payment of 5,000 euros as compensation to people who, in the past, received little or no restitution. In total, the institute estimates that it will cost an additional 100 million euros more than the hundreds of millions already spent on compensation for physical damage.
The additional compensation will be offered in the second half of 2023. The IMG estimates that residents of approximately 40,000 addresses may be eligible for the payout. In this way, the institute wants to reduce the differences in claims handling that have arisen over the years.
In addition, one requirement to receive the fixed compensation scheme of 5,000 euros that has been offered since November 2021 will expire. "Until now, you could not make use of that arrangement if an expert had already been present. Then, you had to demonstrate that no compensation had been given for the damage before."
Since then, 30,000 people have taken advantage of the scheme, which was intended for people living in areas where there was a "relatively small chance" of damage, but where damage "could not be ruled out in advance," according to the institute. Due to the fixed compensation, no proof of damage was required for this arrangement. "All people have to do now is make it clear that it is damage that was not dealt with in the past," the spokesperson said.
Groningen activist group GBB said in a response that it wants to again warn victims about the one-off payment. "With this, you will sign for a final discharge and you can therefore never report any new damage at the same address again, unless there is a severe earthquake," the group said in a written response.
The movement advised people to only make use of the scheme if they are sure, after consultation with an expert, that damage can actually be repaired with the 5,000 euros. "And you are sure that there will never be more tremors near you again." The GBB believes that the haphazard distribution of money does not do justice to Groningen residents who have suffered damage. The GBB also pointed out that thousands of people are still waiting for their file to be processed and their compensation.
So far, the IMG has already awarded more than 970 million euros for earthquake damage. About 200,000 addresses could have already received the fixed compensation. Every week, an average of 100 requests are received for this. That number is expected to quickly rise.
Since August 16, 2012, after the severe earthquake in Huizinge, a total of 245,000 damage reports have been processed. This was first done by the Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM) and the Center for Safe Living. From 2018, the institute will take care of the settlements.
Reporting by ANP