Rapid damage assessment caused by the flooding event 2021 in Limburg, Netherlands
Keywords:flood damage data, rapid assessment, updating with new damage data
The floods in the Netherlands in the summer of 2021 led to severe economic damage and losses in the affected area. A first estimate in September 2021 showed that more than 2,500 houses, more than 5,000 inhabitants and around 600 businesses were affected. Using the Dutch standard Flood Damage and Loss Model (SSM2017), and based on figures from international literature, the total damage in the Netherlands is estimated in the order of € 350 – 600 million. Physical damage to houses and businesses, business interruption, damage to infrastructure and crop losses were the most substantial. The differences in damage to individual structures (residential and commercial) were large. The estimated damage in the affected area is clearly larger than for the Meuse river floods in 1993 and 1995 which occurred in the same region (converted to 2021 prices: around € 200 million and € 125 million, respectively, excluding damage due to business interruption). It is important to note that the largest damages and losses in 2021 occurred the smaller regional rivers, mainly in the Geul floodplain, while in 1993 and 1995 most damage and losses were recorded in the Meuse floodplain.
This paper aims to improve the preliminary damage estimates made right after the floods in 2021 by comparing them with actual damage reports from insurance companies and information acquired for the implementation of the national Act “Compensation of damage due to disasters” (WTS). We conclude that the value of the damage is about € 400 - 500 million, which is in line with the initial estimate. It is however seen that there is a gap between the assessments of damage by experts and the damage as perceived by citizens and companies.