South floods cost €800m

Widespread storms across south

First insurance estimates say that widespread storm damage will cost hundreds of millions to repair

DAMAGE from widespread flooding across the south of France over the past week has been estimated at between €550 million and €800m by the insurers body Caisse Centrale de Réassurance.

The CCR said it had calculated the costs of damage from the "Pyrénées-Atlantiques to Alpes-Maritimes and Corsica" on the basis of the events being declared a "catastrophe naturelle".

However, it added that the figures were very basic and major elements could cost significantly more than the estimates, especially on the number of communes that would be covered by the natural catastrophe status and the problems of businesses and their associated losses.

Interior Minister Claude Guéant told MPs this week that every effort was being made for the official declaration of a catastrophe naturelle. Once this has been done - and published in the Journal Officiel - victims have 10 days to submit claims to their insurer.

So far five people have been confirmed dead in the storms and one man is still missing after being swept away in the River Var near Nice.

As the weather returned to normal in the department of the Var 4,000 households are still without telephone contact and eight communes have no drinking water.

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