The Dutch General Audit Chamber has criticized the wasteful and inefficient manner in which the government processes induced earthquake damage claims submitted by residents of northern provinces. In 2021, the Groningen Mining Damage Institute processed on average 40% of regular damage reports within six months. In 2020, the number was as high as 71%, the auditors say.
The pace of reinforcing homes in the earthquake zone is also too slow, the organization said. Only 13% of the affected buildings were determined to be safe in 2021.
The audit office was unsparingly critical of the red tape and bureaucratic routine that surrounds the compensation process. About three quarters of the funds allocated by the finance ministry to compensate earthquake damage in Groningen is reportedly spent administration and operational expenses.
Dutch companies have decreased the quantity of gas pumped from the Groningen fields lately, not least because of the pressure from residents who suffered millions of euros in harm to their properties through the years. The war in Ukraine, however, has forced them to reconsider their position. To counter the energy crisis, caused by the conflict, Eindhoven University of Technology expert David Smeulders called on the cabinet to increase the amount of gas pumped from Groningen and compensate the residents, whose homes were affected by earthquakes, more generously.
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