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Dordogne storm victims call for official natural disaster recognition

Several communes in the department saw cars and homes destroyed last week

Some 14 communes in Dordogne have called for a state of natural disaster to be called with regards to the violent storm which hit the department on June 20 Pic: DesertViking / ND700 / Shutterstock

Some 14 communes in Dordogne have requested that the state declare a natural disaster following the violent storm which hit the department on June 20, seriously damaging cars and homes. 

Read more: Vehicles, homes: claiming compensation for weather damage in France

The communes in question – which are all based in the north west of the department – have lodged their requests with the prefecture, and a one-off committee is set to meet at the end of the week to consider whether to transfer them to the interior ministry’s Commission interministérielle catastrophe naturelle. 

This body decides whether or not to declare a natural disaster based on reports from experts. 

If it is judged that a catastrophe naturelle has occurred, the communes concerned will be listed in a decree published in the government’s official legal publication, Le Journal officiel. 

Last week’s storm has not yet been qualified as a natural disaster by national forecaster Météo France, which is one of the bodies which would need to submit its report to the government. 

The status of natural disaster allows for the coverage of damage related to floods, mudslides, droughts, earthquakes and other catastrophic events, specifying the areas and time periods concerned. 

However, it does not concern damage caused by wind (except in the case of cyclones) or hail alone, which will likely be covered by your home insurance.

An official catastrophe naturelle declaration opens the way for compensation – for material damage caused by flooding due to storms – to be paid by insurance companies.

If you live in a commune outside the zone concerned by the natural disaster decree, you will not automatically be entitled to catastrophe naturelle compensation. However, if you have an assurance multirisque home insurance cover, you will probably still be able to claim on that.

The communes which have asked for recognition of a catastrophe naturelle this month have not yet been named, but if their requests are granted they will be listed in the governmental decree on the subject. 

In the meantime, if your property was damaged during last week’s storm, you can get in touch with your local mairie to check whether they have made a request to the prefecture.

Hailstones the size of ping-pong balls 

The storm of June 20 brought a violent shower of hail down over parts of Dordogne, and one resident. Gervais, published a video of his car – the body dented and the windscreen smashed – and house, in which the ceiling had fallen in and bits of plaster were covering the floor. 

In the days since it was posted, the video – which can be viewed here – has been viewed more than two million times, and Gervais’ friends have now launched a crowdfunding campaign to support him, his wife Deborah and his 13-year-old daughter, who have had to find accommodation elsewhere for now. 

Gervais’ home was not the only property to be damaged during the storm. Various images and videos have since been shared on social media to reflect the ping-pong ball sized hailstones which fell and the destruction they caused. 

Related articles 

France declares state of ‘catastrophe naturelle’ for early June storms

France’s Mediterranean coast at risk of tsunami within next 30 years

June 2022: a record-breaking month for weather in France

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