Balvi region will provide support to storm-ravaged farms in Latvia

The Balvi region will provide support to four farms affected by the whirlwind in the Bērzpils parish, reported LSM's Latvian service on July 8. 

The regional council came to this decision at an extraordinary meeting on July 8. The Social Affairs Commission will have the final word on the amount of support to be proffered to the casualties, and will arrive at a conclusion by the end of this week, stated the regional administration.

On Saturday afternoon, July 6, the Balvi region was hit by the most ususual natural disaster of recent years – a whirlwind caused significant damage to four farms in the Bērzpils parish. The winds tore roofs from the residential buildings, damaged the walls, the ceiling and felled the surrounding trees.

The “Krastiņi” farm has suffered by far the most damage; all of its buildings were devastated.

The whirlwind has likewise caused a lot of damage to the municipal cemetery and numerous private forests, said the administration. 

The administration of the Balvi region has surveyed the storm-damaged territories and farmyards, visually assessing the losses and meeting with the owners to discuss the event and the possible support the administration could provide to the casualties. 

The Balvi Regional Council convened an extraordinary meeting on Monday, July 8, in which the deputies discussed the amount of regional assistance to be given to the properties damaged by the storm. 

Aigars Pušpurs, chairman of the Balvi Regional Council, after seeing the area in the aftermath of the disaster, affirmed that the force of nature must have been enormous. 

"In seconds, the tornado had left utter destruction in its wake. But then, the important thing is that no one came to harm. The region will provide as much help as it can to the damaged farms. 

But I am also calling upon residents to be responsive and give their support – be it material, financial, or in the form of manpower.

Any help will come of use in eliminating the consequences of the accident,” said Pušpurs.

According to the Regional Binding Regulations “On Social Assistance Benefits in the Balvi Region”, the Social Affairs Commission established by the Social Service may grant a benefit of up to six monthly minimum wages to an individual.

In the near future, the commission will be convened to decide on the amount of financial support to be provided to the affected farms. The final decision will be made towards the end of this week, the administration added.

The Minister of Environmental protection and Regional Development Juris Pūce (Development/For!) said in an interview with Latvian Television that in such cases the law obliges the region to make sure that no one is left without a roof over his or her head. 

“In such situations, most regions usually reimburse people for the loss of property,” said Pūce.

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