Around 50 buildings in the city centre of Pepinster, one of the municipalities in the province of Liège that was worst affected by the floods earlier this month, have been ordered to be demolished as they are badly damaged.
These buildings, mostly homes but also garages, make up a significant part of the city’s centre along the river Vesdre, and the demolition of the buildings, of which most had already been declared uninhabitable, will affect around 350 inhabitants have been affected, according to reports from RTBF.
“The Mayor (Philippe Godin) must note that several buildings have been heavily hit by the floods and that the situation is likely to seriously affect public safety,” a press release from the municipality read.
Following an analysis by stability engineers who visited the buildings affected by the floods, which mainly caused irreversible damage to the structures due to the intensity of the current, a list of buildings at risk of collapsing was drawn up.
“The Mayor is therefore planning to adopt, as a matter of urgency, a police decree to order the demolition of several buildings,” according to the press release.
However, as the majority of these buildings have been evacuated and the occupants have been temporarily rehoused in other locations, it has proven to be a struggle for the authorities to contact the owners concerned before adopting the police order, and they have now been asked to contact the administration themselves.
The municipality of Pepinster has asked the owners of the affected properties to contact the administration by telephone on the following numbers: 0472/110 930 or 0472/110 446.
The areas in Pepinster where houses will be demolished. Credit: Google maps. Edited by The Brussels Times.
The concerned buildings are located in the following streets: Purgatoire n°1, 3, Rue Hubert Halet n°33, 35, 37, 39, 51, 53, 59, 61, 63, 65, 67, 71, 73-75, 98, 102, 104, Rue du Duc n°4, 4(garage), 4+, 5+, 5+(garage),6+,8, 8+,9, 10+, 10 -, Pont Walrand n°8, 10-12, 14-16,18, 18+, 18B, 22, 24, 32,34, 38+ – Rue Massau n°26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 34, 38+ – Rue de l’Oiseau n°35, Rue Massau n°26, 28, 30, 32+, 34, 36-38 – Rue Louis Bierin n°1 – Rue de la Pompe n°2.
According to Godin, if the building is insured, the insurance companies will pay the demolition costs, however, if it is not, the owner will have to cover them.
“If unfortunately the victim is not insured, he can submit a file to the Calamity Fund within the limits that will be determined by the Walloon government,” he said.
“The Commune of Pepinster will advance the funds and we will wait for the compensation to reach the citizen before claiming it”, Godin added.
Other buildings that have been affected by the floods may be added to the list if they are deemed a risk to public health as well.
In the meantime, the Walloon region is asking companies to provide containers that could be turned into homes as well as containers to store furniture and can be rented with a purchase option.
It is not yet clear how many people will need emergency housing, but as of September, municipalities in the most affected regions can pass on their orders.
According to reports from Belga news agency, Minister of Housing Christophe Collignon has already contacted 60 Belgian and foreign companies directly.