A month after storm devastated Dobele municipality

One month has passed since the storm hit Latvia on August 7, hardest of all – the Dobele municipality, where damage prevention is still ongoing. The local authority has already spent nearly 1.7 million paying compensation, Latvian Radio reported September 7.

The landscape in Dobele municipality currently features broken trees, stacks of logs and branches. The Latvian State Forests' nature park in Tērvete also looks like a logging site. Park walkways and trails with a total length of 35 kilometers are already cleared, but the park's opening for visitors is only due in two weeks. Then things might not be as beautiful as before, but safe.

And it's not just guests who are looking forward to opening the park, said park representative Lilita Kauste: "If one such rather large object closes, as is the case now with nature park in Tērvete, then small entrepreneurs and businesses in the immediate vicinity suffer greatly, not just in Tērvete, but we also resonate with it beyond Dobele municiality. Small businesses when they see us, ask each day with pleading eyes: when will you open, it is very difficult for us to pull through this period. If you don't open in two weeks or a month, then we can close the small business for a while because we don't have enough funds for further development."

After the storm, not only one of the main tourist magnets – nature park, but every resident, suffered. This is evidenced by hundreds of homes that have construction film in place of a real roof for now.

Such a green film roof is also on the first house in Naudīte Parish, home to Valentīna Kvēpa. The woman said: "Thanks to the village or government who gave the three thousand – we replaced all roof boards.  But this barn… and all firewood is wet! I'm opening the door to try and dry it out."

The €3,000 mentioned by Kvēpa is a municipal benefit to renovate the roof with the cheapest materials. Relying on the government's promise to compensate expenses, Dobele municipality has used nearly EUR 1.7 million from its budget so far. The aid is planned in two rounds – three thousand were allocated first for the renovation of the roofs of residential buildings; 1,000 applications were received for this and more than 660 are granted. In the second round, another EUR 2,500 is foreseen for other urgent needs. 

Many more are in need - farmers whose fields have been damaged by the storm and therefore no revenue is planned want tax credits, and households, where the disaster has ruined more than the roof, want more money for serious repairs.

Dobele municipality was hardest hit by the storm a month ago, but a total of 12 local government areas were hit heavily. They want to receive nearly 9 million from the state budget in total to deal with the damage.

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