By: Roland de Jong
ZIERIKZEE – In Zierikzee, a total of 10 houses have been made uninhabitable by the storm that raged over the city yesterday. It could take months for this damage to be repaired. The total number of houses with damage can reach 400. The total damage will run into millions. That was just announced during a press conference.
A large part of the affected properties are rented out by the Zeeuwland housing association. According to director Marco van der Wel, 400 homes may have suffered damage. It is already certain that 150 to 200 houses were badly damaged. A total of 10 homes were uninhabitable last night. Five houses on the Calandweg will not be habitable in the coming months. Five houses on Kanterlaan are also uninhabitable, but it is still unclear when the damage can be repaired here. Private security guards are standing at the heavily damaged and open houses to prevent possible thefts, Van der Wel said.
Yesterday it became clear that the whirlwind has claimed the life of a 73-year-old woman from Wassenaar. At least nine people were injured. One of them was taken to hospital and is still staying there, said Jack van der Hoek, mayor of the municipality of Schouwen-Duiveland this afternoon. According to Van der Hoek, hotels in the area offered rooms to those affected. A total of nine rooms were used to accommodate people who were unable to return home.
Van der Hoek also outlined a time course during the press conference. Around 13.00 hours the first reports came in about the whirlwind. It soon became clear that damage had occurred at various locations and injuries were also reported. This was scaled up to GRIP 1 so that the emergency services could be better coordinated. In the meantime, a large number of fire trucks and ambulances were called in.
According to Ben Ham, operational leader of the fire service, it was not clear at first where exactly help was needed. It also seemed that damage had also occurred outside Zierikzee. This was scaled up to GRIP 2 so that a coordination team could meet at the crisis center in Middelburg. Closer exploration of the affected area revealed that the center of gravity was in Zierikzee itself. Luigi Bellu, chief officer of the fire service, added that on the basis of this reconnaissance a good estimate could be made of the damage and the locations where unsafe situations occurred. “We then looked at which unsafe situations could be solved quickly and at which locations this was not the case,” Bellu explained this afternoon.
According to mayor Van der Hoek, the residents of Zierikzee still have a lot of emotion. He spoke directly to residents yesterday. “People were very satisfied with how help was provided. Yesterday we immediately provided shelter in the town hall. For some people, the need for psychological help may arise later. People who need this can contact Victim Support Netherlands on 0900-0101.”
According to the mayor, the storm came up spontaneously and unfortunately there was no time to warn residents. Van der Hoek declined to comment on whether there are further lessons to be learned from what happened. During the press conference, the traffic chaos that arose after the incident was also discussed. Okke van Gelderen, deputy district chief of the Zeeland police, then indicated that the measures were taken that were necessary at that time and that they were reversed where possible when possible.
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