July floods

Clean-up of rivers still ongoing

Traces and debris of the natural disaster can still be seen months later.  Photo: Matic Zorman / Maison Moderne

Traces and debris of the natural disaster can still be seen months later.  Photo: Matic Zorman / Maison Moderne

The rivers of Luxembourg have not yet been cleared of all the debris amassed during the July floods, environment minister Carole Dieschbourg (déi Gréng) announced in an answer to a parliamentary question. This is in part due to existing laws and worker availability.  

Months after the July floods that affected most areas of the country, debris can still be spotted in Luxembourg’s nature. This includes caravans that landed in the Upper Sûre. The government could, however, to this day not pick the trailers out of the water.

The responsibility for this lies with the owner of the vehicles, explained the minister following a parliamentary question on the subject. The proprietors of the caravans are currently still unknown, as the latter have not yet notified the issue to the relevant authorities.

“The AGE (water management administration) has no right to identify the owner of the caravan on basis of the chassis number or license plate,” Dieschbourg explained in her answer. Assistance by the AGE would only then be possible if the owner asked for it directly.

Until the identity of the person concerned is found, the AGE cannot not hire a firm to pick up the debris. However, to avoid further potential damage--like damage to bridges further down the river, as the MP at the origin of the question suggested--the AGE has started looking for a solution with the police.

The environment minister added that on top of the existing law concerning the owners of the vehicles, the sheer amount of damage and debris in the entire country slowed down the clean-up action significantly. Finding companies that still have availabilities to conduct works added to the delay.

Luxembourg on 14 and 15 July experienced historic flooding that caused more than an estimated €120m in damage to property across the country.

After the July floods that affected every area of the country, the water management administration (AGE) contacted municipalities to assess the situation and prepare a national damage report.

At least a third of Luxembourg’s bridges required maintenance or repairs following the natural disaster.