$470 million flood damage bill in hard-hit Dutch town

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Wiel de Bie, 75, stands outside his flooded home in the town of Brommelen, Netherlands, Saturday, July 17, 2021. In the southern Dutch province of Limburg, which also has been hit hard by flooding, troops piled sandbags to strengthen a 1.1-kilometer (0.7 mile) stretch of dike along the Maas River, and police helped evacuate low-lying neighborhoods. (AP Photo/Bram Janssen)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Flooding that raged through a southern Dutch tourist town last week caused around 400 million euros ($470 million) in damage to homes and businesses, the town’s mayor said Wednesday.

About 700 homes in Valkenburg were so badly damaged by flooding that their owners will have to seek temporary accommodation while they are repaired, mayor Daan Prevoo said.

The southern Dutch province of Limburg was hit with the most severe flooding in decades late last week, causing an anxious weekend as authorities closely monitored dikes and levees strained almost to breaking point by swollen rivers and inundated flood plains.

Unlike in neighboring Germany and Belgium where a total of 202 are confirmed dead, there were no casualties in the Netherlands.

“It’s clear we are the hot spot” of the flooding damage in the Netherlands, Prevoo said. He said that half of the 400 million euros is physical flooding damage and half is the cost to businesses who will miss out on their peak tourism season as they recover from the devastation wreaked by the water.

The Dutch government last week declared the region a disaster area. That means that residents could be in line to have damages not covered by their insurance compensated out of a government fund.

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