Walloon government frees initial €2 billion for reconstruction after floods

Walloon government frees initial €2 billion for reconstruction after floods
Walloon Minister-President Elio Di Rupo. Credit: Belga

The Walloon government put together an initial €2 billion plan to rebuild Wallonia after last week's deadly floods, Minister-President Elio Di Rupo announced on Tuesday.

Of these two billion, €800 million will come from the Walloon recovery plan (some of whose projects - still to be defined - will have to be abandoned), and €200 million will come from the Walloon treasury, to be injected into the disaster fund.

The remaining billion will be found on the financial markets via a "classic" loan.

To provide direct assistance to disaster-stricken residents, the mayors will be mobilised to issue advances of €2,500 on insurance as well as for uninsured people.

A housing plan will enable local social housing companies to receive €25 million, while €50 million will be earmarked for emergency housing or rehousing via local authorities (CPAS, municipalities).

The self-employed and small businesses will be able to apply for advances of €50,000 via one of Wallonia's financial arms, Sowalfin. Larger companies will be able to request advances of up to 75% of the estimated damage from another Walloon financial arm, Sogepa. For all these entrepreneurs, a telephone number is available (1890).

The municipalities will be provided with €5 million immediately available via the governors, while advances will be granted via the CRAC (Centre régional d'aide aux communes) for urgent stability and safety work.

Staff will also be sent to the municipalities for three months to help them manage the crisis.

As for the innumerable pieces of waste brought in by the floods, a site has already been identified on the A601 for temporary storage before treatment, in collaboration with the intermunicipal companies, the communes and the ministry.

"We are looking for other locations," said Di Rupo, adding that every effort is being made to remove objects and trees still caught in the waterways.

However, this plan will not be enough, he already warned.

"Let's be honest, we will collectively need colossal amounts of money to help our fellow citizens, companies and municipalities, which we cannot yet estimate," Di Rupo said. "This is why we will implement a Solidarity Fund, the details of which have yet to be defined."

"This disaster could happen again elsewhere, so we need to rethink the future in terms of these issues linked to the climate emergency."

The Brussels Times

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