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The balance

The disaster had direct and often drastic effects on the approximately 600,000 inhabitants of Zeeland, Zuid-Holland and Noord-Brabant. A total of 1835 people lost their lives. In December 1953, the Red Cross published a list with the number of victims per municipality.

From February 1st to 2nd, 1795 people drowned. Another forty (40) died later from the hardships they had suffered during the disaster.Of the 1795 people who died as a ‘direct' result of the disaster, 864 were in Zeeland, 677 in Zuid-Holland and 247 in Noord-Brabant. The storm took the lives of another seven people in the rest of the country. The municipalities that suffered most were Ouwerkerk, (656 inhabitants, 91 dead); in Nieuwerkerk (in Zeeland), (288 deaths in a population of 1858); and Oude Tonge, (305 people lost their lives in a population of 3,088).

Approximately 72,000 inhabitants from the south-western disaster area had to be evacuated for a long period of time. As of May 1st, there were 24,000 people who had not yet returned to the area. By October 1st, that number was 11,000.

More than 47,000 head of cattle and 140,000 poultry drowned. Three thousand houses and 300 farms were destroyed and more than 40,000 houses and 3000 farms were damaged. Almost 200,000 hectares of land were inundated. The total material damage is estimated to have been 1 ½ billion Dutch guilders.