Meeting in conclave in recent days, the Walloon government has held a conclave in recent days to follow up on the floods and above all to specify the efforts that will have to be made to rebuild everything that was destroyed or damaged during the floods in mid-July.
He also had to confirm the precise aid measures, in particular for uninsured victims.
It was also a question of additional means to help businesses restart as quickly as possible.
209 affected municipalities
Of the 262 municipalities in the Walloon Region, 209 have been declared disaster victims. They were divided into four groups. The priority category brings together the most affected municipalities. These are Limbourg, Pepinster and Trooz, where almost one in two buildings has been damaged or destroyed. In these municipalities, more than 30% of the buildings were damaged.
The next category, category 1, includes the municipalities of Chaudfontaine, Esneux, Eupen, Liège, Rochefort, Theux and Verviers.
28 municipalities are in category 2 and 171 in category 3.
This classification is taken into account for the intervention of the Walloon Region in the cost of repairing public infrastructure.
Thus, in the three most affected municipalities, those in the priority category, the Walloon intervention will be 100%. In those of category 1, 90%. The intervention will be 80% in the municipalities of category 2 and 70% in category 3.
We are talking here about repair work on roads, public spaces, bridges, buildings, public housing, nurseries or sports centers, for example.
990 million to compensate households with 100% insurance
As already agreed, the Walloon Region will put its hand in the portfolio to compensate people in order of insurance, in addition to the intervention of insurance companies.
In fact, since 2005, insurers have been obliged to include cover for the risks of natural disasters, such as floods, in fire insurance contracts. In return, the federal state has limited the intervention of insurance companies in the event of a large-scale disaster, to avoid bankruptcy in the sector.
In theory, therefore, in the case of the floods of July 14-16, the intervention of insurers should have been limited to 19% of the amount of damages of each affected household.
To avoid this, the Walloon government negotiated with the insurance sector. Insurers have agreed to double the amount of their interventions and to increase to 38% of the amount of insured damage. The Walloon government has undertaken to pay the remainder so that the 42,000 to 45,000 homes affected and in order to be insured are fully compensated.
This intervention by the Walloon Region for the benefit of policyholders will amount to 990 million euros. Insurers for their part will pay 613 million euros for an estimated overall cost of 1.603 billion euros.
Intervention for damage to uninsured movable property
In the event of damage to movable property located inside a damaged building, all victims not insured for furniture may benefit from compensation of a maximum of 10,000 euros. The damage must have been estimated by an expert.
Compensation for uninsured homes: maximum 80,000 euros
There remained the case of people whose building was not insured. The Walloon government wants to take into account that these are, “for the most part, people who are very precarious or living in poverty”. He decided to grant them partial compensation. “The insured amount will be less than what they would have obtained if they had been insured”, communicates the government.
Thus, for uninsured buildings, owners will benefit from an intervention up to 50% of the amount of the damage assessed with a ceiling limited to 80,000 euros. It is therefore less than the amounts mentioned a few days ago. In an interview, Elio Di Rupo had thus indicated a range of compensation ranging from 100,000 to 140,000 euros.
This ceiling may be increased by 10,000 euros in the event of intervention for depollution for hydrocarbons or in the event of the presence of asbestos.
For beneficiaries of the RIS (Social Integration Income), specific compensation will be provided, depending on their situation.
For those who live in a “light habitat of permanent residence”, for example a chalet or a residential caravan, which would not be insured, the compensation will be capped at 20,000 euros, after evaluation by an expert.
A budget to compensate for damage to vehicles without omnium
Many vehicles were damaged or destroyed during the floods. In many cases, these were vehicles for which the owners had only taken out “civil liability” insurance.
For all these vehicles, for which no omnium insurance will intervene, the Walloon Region provides for a compensation budget. The intervention will be at least 1500 euros and will be up to 50% of the value appraised by a professional. For cars, the compensation ceiling will be 10,000 euros. For professional vans, this will be a maximum of 15,000 euros. 5,000 for motorcycles and 2,000 euros for mopeds, cargo bikes and electric bikes.
Aid for businesses, the non-profit sector and agriculture
The Walloon government has also released aid for the resumption of business activities and the non-profit sector.
The aid will only be granted after analysis of the request from the companies and organizations concerned.
The resumption of economic activity will have to take place in Wallonia and in a place close to the initial establishment (20 km).
It will also be necessary for the assisted company to maintain employment for a period of four years at the level where it was on average during the last 18 months of activity.
For the companies assisted, the intervention of the Walloon Region will be between 25% and 50% of the damage suffered, depending on the size of the company and its insurance coverage.
For farmers, the Region’s intervention will amount to 70% of the estimated damage, with a ceiling of 300,000 euros.
Damage to forest estates will be covered by the Region up to 35% of the damage, with a ceiling of 300,000 euros.
650 million euros to repair regional infrastructure
Many regional infrastructures have been damaged. This concerns roads, tunnels, banks, waterways, storm basins, etc.
650 million euros have been budgeted to intervene in these areas. In these cases, the Walloon Region will have to bear 100% of the costs.