Non merci: Walloon water-damage victims reject Flemish housing offer
Share article:
Share article:

Non merci: Walloon water-damage victims reject Flemish housing offer

© Belga

Some 140 homes made available by Flemish housing organisations for the victims of the recent severe flooding remain empty this week, as the Walloons made homeless prefer to lodge elsewhere.

In July, a series of circumstances, some of them meteorological, caused severe flooding in many parts of the country. Particularly hard-hit were parts of Liege province, Limburg and Walloon Brabant.

In mid-August, Flemish minister for welfare Wouter Beke arranged with housing charities in Flemish Brabant and the south of Limburg province to make available a number of assisted-living homes on a temporary basis, to house those who had been forced from their homes by water damage.

A lot of people in Flanders already showed their solidarity by bringing stuff and material to the victims en masse,” Beke said at the time.

Still, it is not easy to find places to live for people who have temporarily or permanently lost their home.”

His appeal was met by 22 calls from housing associations, who were prepared to put 140 homes at the disposal of the displaced victims, not only in the regions affected, but also in Nieuwpoort at the coast, and Ieper in West Flanders.

The list was sent by the Agency for Care and Health (which oversees assisted living homes) to the housing department of the Walloon regional government, which placed the list on its Housing Assistance platform.

Almost two months later, Het Nieuwsblad report, all 140 properties remain unclaimed.

We do not have an explanation for that,” said a spokesperson for Beke.

We can do no more than offer the homes. The matching between victims and homes takes place on the Walloon side, but for some reason it doesn’t seem to be working.”

Nieuwsblad contacted the Walloon minister for housing, Christophe Collignon (PS) to find out the reason.
“We think it has to do with the long distance in the first place, his spokesperson told the paper.

People like to stay close to their property. In addition, the language barrier also plays a role for some. And finally, the price might also hold people back.”

However, as a spokesperson for Beke pointed out, insurance companies often cover not only material damage, but also the costs of alternative lodging while the original property is again made liveable.

“The decisive factor is whether someone is insured against a flood and what the contractual conditions say,” said Beke’s spokesperson. “We had contact with [insurance industry federation] Assuralia during the summer holidays and they indicate that insurers give their customers the freedom of choice to indicate where they prefer to stay.”

Latest news

Increase in number of people ‘asking King for mercy’ through royal pardons
More and more people living in Belgium have been seeking royal pardons, mainly for fines, largely as a result of it now being possible to send in ...
England now accepting cheaper Covid tests from fully vaccinated travellers
Fully vaccinated travellers who enter England from non-red countries will only be required to book a lateral flow test to take following their ...
Re-introducing face masks indoors considered as Covid-19 situation worsens
Belgium's council of ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the worsening epidemiological situation, and reintroducing face ...
Federal museums to receive €2.9 million booster shot
Federal museums will receive an additional €2.9 million in support from the government for the fiscal year 2021, of which the first payouts will be ...
European Parliament emphasises healthy food and animal welfare in EU Farm to Fork Strategy
The European Parliament adopted this week a resolution on the EU Farm to Fork Strategy calling for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food ...
Threats of strike action could affect Brussels’ STIB network from Monday
Brussels public transport operator STIB's trams, buses and metros could be affected from Monday 25 October onwards as the union representing the ...
Number of international adoptions in Belgium continues to drop
The number of regulated international adoptions authorised by Belgium further dropped in 2020, continuing an ongoing decreasing trend. Last ...
Disaster drill with emergency services held at Brussels Airport
Around 300 people took part in a disaster drill held was organised on Saturday by Brussels Airport in collaboration with external emergency services ...
Austria presents bill to legalise euthanasia
Austria’s government on Saturday presented its proposals for legalising assisted suicide, in response to a Constitutional Court ruling that the ...
Brussels’ Museum Night Fever draws in some 12,000 visitors
Some 12,000 participants took part in the 14th edition of Museum Night Fever in Brussels, with the 29 participating museums filled to the maximum ...
Relaunch of 10,000 steps campaign to get Flemish people moving
The Flemish government is breathing new life into its 10,000 steps campaign to get people in the region moving after a recent survey found that a ...
‘No scientific basis’ for giving everyone third dose, vaccine expert says
The head of Belgium's Vaccination Taskforce has argued that there is not enough scientific evidence to support the Flemish government's decision to ...