Compensation for Berlin Christmas market attack victims increases | News | DW | 14.12.2018
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Compensation for Berlin Christmas market attack victims increases

Nearly €4 million have been distributed to the families of victims and those injured in Berlin's Breitscheidplatz terrorist attack. The German government delivered on its pledge to substantially increase payments.

Two years after the terrorist attack in Berlin's Breitscheidplatz Christmas market, the German government has continued to pay compensation to the victims and their families, according to public documents made available on Friday.

Three public offices were responsible for dispensing the funds, the Justice Ministry, an agency for roadside accidents compensation, and the Health and Social Affairs Office of Berlin. 

More than 170 people, relatives of victims and the wounded from the attack, have so far received varying sums of money. In total, the German government has distributed €3.8 million ($4.2 million) in compensation. 

That is up from the €2.3 million in compensation and support that had been distributed to victims as of December 2017. The sum will likely rise, as the government has pledged to continue paying out aid to victims and their families.

Of the €3.8 million, roughly €3 million have gone to one time, lump sum, payments.

Read more: Berlin Christmas market attack: 'We weren't prepared'

Previous rules had stipulated that injured individuals were entitled to receive a lump sum of only up to €5,000, but the amounts were increased substantially in response to victim outcry. 

Friday's figures confirmed the change, as the highest lump sum awarded so far stood at €350,000, to a person who was seriously injured in the attack, the German dpa news agency reported.

Additionally, family members who lost a spouse, children who lost one or both parents would be eligible to receive monthly payments. The amount would vary and depends on the person's relationship to the victim and extent of the injuries or damage ranging from €141 and €736.

The German government has also pledged to cover the cost of medical treatment and therapy.

Repairing ties with the victims

Twelve people were killed and more than 70 were injured when Anis Amri drove a truck into the Christmas market on December 19, 2016.

In the aftermath of the attack, the German government had been under fire from victims and relatives over their handling of the matter.

Read more: Preventing terrorism: What powers do German security forces have?

Victims complained about Chancellor Angela Merkel's attitude towards them, the lack of information that was made available about their loved ones and what they considered inadequate financial support. 

A commissioner for victims was named and the relationship improved. Among the changes, the German government agreed to substantially increase victim's financial compensation.

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