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German flood victims without insurance fear future

Friday, June 07, 2013 - 02:20

As the flood waters subside in parts of Germany, residents are assessing the damage caused by the country's worst flood in a decade. Some flood victims say they have lost their livelihoods, as they haven't been able to get insurance since the last big flood along the Danube in 2002, which caused about 1.8 billion euros of damage. Joanna Partridge reports from Berlin.

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The big clean-up begins. As the flood waters subside in the southern German city of Passau, residents survey the damage caused by the worst floods in a decade. Alois Unholzer owns a model shop, which he estimates has seen damage of around 800,000 euros. SOUNDBITE: Alois Unholzer, Owner of model shop, saying (German): "We've lost everything. We weren't even able to save even one percent of our stock. We've got no livelihood left, so we'll have to get unemployment benefits. We're jobless, we don't have any more money, it's the end." There's not much left in Christina Plettendorfer's restaurant either. And she's not insured. SOUNDBITE: Christina Plettendorfer, Restaurant Owner, saying (German): "We asked the landlord after the last major floods in 2002, and we were told this side of the Danube can't be insured. So we won't get any money from that." Tens of thousands of Germans, Hungarians and Czechs were evacuated from their homes as waters have risen across the region. The floods have been spreading north across Germany, while also threatening Bratislava and Budapest. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who's facing an election in September, has visited several of the affected areas. And she's promised at least 100 million euros in aid. But the cost is expected to end up being much higher. That's partly because many businesses and households don't have adequate flood insurance. Many of them are hoping to receive money from donations made to charities. Stephan Schweda from the German Insurance Association says it's not yet possible to calculate the cost of the damage. SOUNDBITE: Stephan Schweda, Spokesman for the German Insurance Association, saying (German): "People are just registering their claims at the moment, or they haven't been able to put in a claim as the water hasn't gone down yet. We can all remember the 2002 floods, when insured damage was 1.8 billion euros. We all hope it's not the same this year, but at the moment it's impossible to put a figure on it." Germany's industry federation, the BDI, doesn't expect the disaster to have a significant impact on growth in Europe's biggest economy. But the floods are expected to keep spreading for several more days. Many households and businesses will be counting the cost.

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German flood victims without insurance fear future

Friday, June 07, 2013 - 02:20