New research from the University of Groningen shows that an average of sixteen people per year pass away prematurely as a result of earthquakes in the Groningen province.
Previous estimates suggested that there were only five premature earthquake-related deaths per year in Groningen, a much lower figure than the one presented in the new research.
The figure, which was presented on June 10th in a podcast by the NOS, has an estimated range of 11 to 21 deaths every year. The estimates, according to the NOS, were largely based on datasets provided by the GGD focused on the ways in which people perceive their own health. All residents who passed away prematurely in the affected region had damage or multiple damages to their homes.
According to the NOS, the negative impact of the earthquakes on the health of people living in affected regions seems to become more apparent over the long term. They cite the earthquakes as contributing to various long-form disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or even cardiovascular disease.
“We also noticed that there is such a lukewarm response, it seems as if the penny has not dropped. To give an example: in all this time, we have never spoken to an official from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZK) who asked us to really explain the situation to them,” said former study leader Tom Postmes on the NOS’ podcast, Gronings gas: gewonnen or verloren (Groningen Gas: victory or defeat).
Some cases related to the earthquakes have been especially bad, observed Postmes. Victims of the earthquakes often spend years arguing over damage reports to no avail. And yet, he continued, when these stories were presented to the EZK their first reactions were based on when and where they would be aired to the press.
How officials will react to the new figures remains to be seen.