38 communes in south France recognised as new drought disaster zones

People affected can now claim on their catastrophe naturelle insurance, but the issue looks set to reoccur this year

Expansion and shrinkage of earth caused by drought can lead to severe structural damage to buildings

A total of 38 communes in the south of France have been recognised as new drought disaster zones after the devastating drought in 2023.

The official state of ‘catastrophe naturelle (natural disaster)’ was declared for the communes in the Bouches-du-Rhône department in a ministerial decree dated July 2. This official declaration means that people affected in the communes can now unlock special insurance money to help repair any damage caused.

Drought in 2023 caused expansion and shrinkage of the ground, causing structural damage to many homes and properties.

The decree mentions: “consecutive land movement caused by drought and rehydration of the ground (mouvements de terrain consécutifs à la sécheresse et à la réhydratation)”.

It covers damage caused by this in the two-month period between April 1 and June 30, 2023. Claimants covered can now declare the loss to their insurance companies up to August 1.

Read also: New tool helps homeowners in France assess drought damage risk 

A similar decree was declared last year for the same reason, for 62 municipalities. This is now pushing up home insurance premiums, especially in Bouches-du-Rhône, which is now in the top three of the most expensive departments for home insurance costs in France, reports BFMTV.

The situation looks likely to reoccur this year. As of July 3, the Bouches-du-Rhône prefecture has placed around 30 communes under a state of drought alert.

Read also: How do I see if any drought rules are affecting my French home? 
Read also: 84 areas of south of France declared drought disaster zones: what changes? 

The full list of communes affected by the new catastrophe naturelle decree is: 

  • Aix-en-Provence

  • Allauch

  • Arles

  • Aubagne

  • Aureille

  • Auriol

  • Bouc-Bel-Air

  • Cabriès

  • Carnoux-en-Provence

  • Châteauneuf-les-Martigues

  • Châteaurenard

  • Eyragues

  • Fos-sur-Mer

  • Fuveau

  • Gémenos

  • Gignac-la-Nerthe

  • Jouques

  • Marignane

  • Marseille

  • Martigues

  • Maussane-les-Alpilles

  • Meyrargues

  • Mimet

  • Noves

  • Orgon

  • Les Pennes-Mirabeau

  • Peypin

  • Port-de-Bouc

  • Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade

  • Rognac

  • Roquevaire

  • Rousset

  • Saint-Martin-de-Crau

  • Saint-Victoret

  • Sausset-les-Pins

  • Septèmes-les-Vallons

  • Trets

  • Venelles