Red alert for more rain and floods in southeast France

Two departments in southeast France are on red alert for rain and flooding today (December 1) and three are on orange alert, as a state of natural catastrophe is declared after last week’s deadly floods.

1 December 2019
By Connexion journalist

Forecaster Météo France has issued the red alert - the most severe - warning to the Var and the Alpes-Maritimes, warning residents of storms, heavy rainfall, and a high risk of flooding.

This is of “exceptional intensity”, the forecaster said, and represents a danger to the population, with riverbanks expected to be at risk of breaking and overflowing.

Up to 100mm of rain is expected across “much of the southern half of the Var”, and up to 80mm is expected in the Alpes-Maritimes, along with a risk of certain areas reaching as much as 200mm, Météo France said. Coastal areas will also be affected.

In addition, the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and the Vaucluse are on orange rain and flooding alert, while the Drôme is on orange alert for flooding only.

Météo France has warned that conditions for this “episode” will “require particular vigilance, due to the intensity of rainfall falling on already-saturated earth, after a strong rainfall episode last week”.

Roads and trains may be affected. The forecaster said: “Very severe flooding is possible. Driving conditions on the roads may become extremely difficult...visibility will be reduced...heavy disruption may affect train travel”.

It added: “As much as possible, do not travel in the affected departments. Do not - under any circumstances - by foot or by car, go into a flooded area.”


Catastrophe naturelle declared

The alert for new flooding comes as the government has officially issued a decree “recognising a state of natural catastrophe (catastrophe naturelle)” for 128 communes in the southeast that were affected by the intense rainfall and flooding last week - on November 23 and 24 - in which six people died.

The minister for the interior confirmed on Saturday (November 30) that the decree applied to “66 communes in the Alpes-Maritimes” and “82 communes in the Var”.

Official recognition of a state of catastrophe naturelle means that insurance claims to help repair the damage can be officially submitted and expedited. Those affected in the specific areas will be entitled to damage compensation, including for their homes, businesses, vehicles, and personal items.

National insurance group la Fédération Française de l’Assurance confirmed the government’s statement that the claims would be dealt with using “a fast-track procedure”, and said that claims “could be made through all channels, including by telephone, online, or letter”.

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