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Farmers seek compensation as drought is declared 'exceptional'
The Royal Meteorological Institute (IRM) has classified the dry weather in Belgium since July 2016 as “exceptional”, meaning farmers should be able to claim compensation from the Agricultural Disaster Fund.
The IRM compared rainfall figures for the past 20 years and showed that rainfall was exceptionally low in 409 Belgian municipalities.
Wallonia was the worst affected, with all but three of the region's 262 municipalities suffering damage. In West Flanders, nine out of 10 were affected, in East Flanders seven out of 10, while in other Flemish provinces the damage was less: 26 municipalities in Flemish Brabant, 13 in Limburg and nine in Antwerp province.
“The IRM’s advice is an important first step in recognising an agricultural disaster,” Flemish farmers' union Boerenbond said in a statement.
The impact of the drought will now be considered by municipal evaluation committees. To be recognised as a disaster, the total damage needs to be higher than €1.24 million, with the average of each individual claim at least €5,580.
Photo courtesy VILT