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Waiting for flood claims

Thousands of people are still waiting for disaster recovery claim payments a year after devastating floods hit 30 communities in southern Alberta.

A report into the provincial government's response to the June 2013 disaster shows that less than half of 10,486 claims have been paid out at a cost of about $75 million.

More than 2,800 claims for financial compensation are still being processed and another 3,600 claims have been declared ineligible or have been withdrawn.

Municipal Affairs Minister Greg Weadick said the extent of the damage, insurance issues, flood mitigation plans and appeals have slowed the process.

"The government of Alberta really has stepped up quickly to try to alleviate as much of the stress as possible for the citizens," Weadick said Thursday.

"For some they are still in the process of making a decision about whether they are going to move out of the floodway, (whether) to rebuild, whether they are going to repair."

The report says about 160 homeowners are eligible for a program that will pay them to move out of the flood zone. So far, 78 have accepted offers at a cost of $81.5 million. The others have expressed interest.

Weadick said the government doesn't want to rush people who face such a big decision in hard-hit communities such as Calgary and High River.

"I'm expecting that a significant number of those folks will accept the terms," he said. "A lot of these folks have been through incredible stress. It is taking some time for people to work through the devastation."

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