The government has declared a state of "catastrophe naturelle" for 275 towns and villages that were inundated during January's floods, the interior, environment and economy ministries have announced.
With the decree published in the Journal Officiel on Wednesday, the process of compensation for victims can begin, with claimants given 10 days from the date of publication to file insurance claims.
A further meeting, scheduled for March 6, will decide whether a further 156 communes would be also be recognised as 'disaster zones', the ministries said in a joint statement.
As reported, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said in January that the process of declaring a catastrophe naturelle would be accelerated for flooding victims.
Many communes are still feeling the effects of the January inundations, according to floods monitor Vigicrues. The Seine in Paris was still at 4.15m at its official measuring point at pont d'Austerlitz, while the central section of the RER C line in the capital will remain closed for at least two more weeks. At its height, the river reached 5.86m.
With river levels still high, it is still too early to calculate the total cost of the floods. But Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire has already said that he expected it to be lower than the floods of 2016 - when insurers dealt with €1.4billion of claims from 182,000 people.
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