President Macron pledges aid for flooded French region

Emmanuel Macron visited the stricken Aude region and spoke to residents

President Emmanuel Macron has visited areas of the Aude department that were worst hit in the deadly floods this month, and confirmed the release of €18 million in aid to help rebuild the region.

The area was devastated on Monday October 15, after flood waters of up to eight metres rose overnight when three months’ worth of rain fell in just a few hours. At least 13 people died, thousands were evacuated, and bridges and farmland swept away.

Residents of all ages came out to meet Mr Macron, who assured them that the State would help them to reconstruct their houses and neighbourhoods.

The visit came as the Head of State confirmed the release of €80m in aid for the region. He also reminded residents that they have 30 days to make their declarations for funds.

The State will also pay for emergency housing costs, for residents who have had to leave their homes, for six months.

Insurance companies have been given the go-ahead to pay for claims, after the incident was declared a “catastrophe naturelle accélérée” by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

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One older man came to the President in tears, saying that he had lost everything. He said: “Only you can help us get out of all this.”

One young girl came to give Mr Macron a hug as he toured the streets to assess the extent of the damage.

President Macron said: “We will help the residents, the farmers, and the neighbourhoods.”

Addressing residents in a later speech, President Macron said: “You have shown an incredible face of the Républic. No-one can deny this. I have come here to tell you that, and tell you how proud I am of you.”

The rainfall was the result of a fairly typical “épisode méditerranéen” - common in the region at this time of year - but was worse in the Aude due to an unusual weather system that caused the rain clouds to remain “stuck” over just one area, Météo France has explained.

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