French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday promised two emergency funding packages to support towns in the northern regions of France devastated by flooding. He also declared in a state of natural disaster for 214 municipalities in Pas-de-Calais and around thirty in the Nord department.
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Speaking during a visit to the coastal town of Saint-Omer on Tuesday, Macron said a one-off support fund of €50 million would be set up to help communities meet initial expenses.
Another “exceptional support fund” would be introduced for farmers either for investment needs or for operating losses, including those in Brittany and Normandy affected by the storms.
The president was then expected to visit Blendecques, a town of 5,000 inhabitants still flooded by the weekend rains.
Already on alert for flood risks, residents in the Pas-de-Calais department were again placed on rain-flood alert Tuesday morning.
Despite a few days of calm, waters are expected to rise, according to the forecast.
All seven of the department’s rivers are on the second highest orange alert for heavy rains and flooding as of Tuesday.
The region has suffered in quick succession the effects of Storm Ciaran on 2 November, record water levels in rivers on 7 November and heavy rain last Thursday and Friday.
The mayor of Saint Omer, François Decoster, said that “the situation is complicated to live with”, because of the stagnating water levels.
Since 1st November, 42 million cubic meters of water have already been evacuated into the sea, he told France Info on Monday evening.
Schools remain closed
The prefecture announced that schools in 279 municipalities in Pas-de-Calais, 388 establishments in total, will remain closed on Tuesday, after having been closed on Monday.
In addition to Pas-de-Calais, Vendée, Charente-Maritime, Nord, Vosges, Doubs, Jura, Isère, Savoie and Haute-Savoie have all been placed on orange alert for floods.
Like Pas-de-Calais, Haute-Savoie and Savoie are also on rain-flood alert.
France recorded a record average cumulative rainfall of more than 215 mm between 18 October and 12 November, according to the national weather bureau Météo-France.
“We have to go back to 1993 to observe a cumulative amount of 196.9 mm between 21 September and 16 October”.
Scientists explain such a record in particular by the overall meteorological situation and the “string of depressions” on the Atlantic coast for the past month.
https://www.rfi.fr/en/france/20231114-18-00-macron-pledges-emergency-funds-for-flood-struck-towns-in-northern-france Macron pledges emergency funds for flood-struck towns in northern France