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Repairing the dikes

The disaster caused about a hundred tide ways in the dikes.

Repairs began immediately. During the night of the disaster and in the days that followed, numerous breaches were sandbagged shut. These ‘emergency closures' were reinforced in the weeks after with stone, mats, cofferdams and small vessels.

The 67 enormous tide ways were closed off in the course of 1953 with the aid of caissons and other heavy material. Much manpower and machines were necessary to complete this huge feat in a short time. For this reason, the Ministry of Transport and Public Works sent many engineers from the Dienst der Zuiderzeewerken (service of the the Zuider Zee works) to Schouwen. Contractors directed much equipment from the Maatschappij tot Uitvoering van de Zuiderzeewerken (MUZ) to Zeeland.
In the night of November 6th - 7th, the last enormous tide way at Ouwerkerk was closed.

Dike repairs in Zeeland were carried out by a division of Rijkswaterstaat (the Ministry of Transport and Public Works) established for just that purpose. This service was known as the Dienst Dijkherstel Zeeland (DDZ). It had its offices in the Gistpoort in Middelburg.

In Noord-Brabant, too, the control of dike repairs lay in the hands of Rijkswaterstaat. In Zuid-Holland, the Provinciale Waterstaat (the provincial public works department) was in charge.