Over 240 communes in north France placed on natural disaster list

It follows widespread damage from river flooding and heavy rainfall

The north has been hit hard by flooding for more than a week. Photo for illustrative purposes only
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More 240 of the communes hardest-hit by river flooding and rainfall in the north of France will be placed on France’s ‘natural disaster’ (catastrophe naturelle) list.

The president made the announcement alongside the Minister for Ecological Transition Christophe Béchu, during a visit to the Pas-de-Calais department to witness some of the areas most-affected by recent flooding.

A €50 million fund will also be available to help flood victims, as well as a separate financial aid for agricultural workers in Hauts-de-France, Normandy, and Brittany affected by the recent storms.

Some 214 communes from the Pas-de-Calais department, and a further 30 from the Nord department, will be added to the list, after more than 200 municipalities filed claims to be added over the course of the past week.

An inter-ministerial meeting tomorrow (November 15) will review claims by communes and confirm their status as catastrophe naturelle or request more information.

What does this mean?

Communes that have been hit by a weather phenomenon such as a storm, flooding, or drought, can be classified as being in a natural disaster zone.

Usually, mayors ask for their area to be put on the list, after which officials and experts are sent by the government to assess the damage.

In some cases, ministers can directly ask for communes to be placed on the list (as is the case currently with Pas-de-Calais).

Once the list of communes affected by the weather event is confirmed, they are published in the Journal Officiel.

Once the list has been published, insurance claims processes for damage caused by the event can begin, with residents having 30 days to submit their claims.

The article below explains the process in more depth.

Read more: France’s ‘catastrophe naturelle’ insurance system: how to claim