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Storm clouds clear as France counts cost

Ben McPartland · 21 Jun 2013, 08:31

Published: 21 Jun 2013 08:31 GMT+02:00

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The skies finally cleared above France on Friday after several days of extreme weather that saw violent storms, devastating floods and even tornados wreak havoc across much of the country.

On Thursday evening Météo France lifted the final Orange alerts that had been in place for 10 department in the north east of the country as well as for the Landes and Pyrénées departments in the south west which had been on alert for floods.

With the weather clearing the emphasis will shift to counting the cost of the damage, which is set to run into hundreds of millions of euros. Insurers say it still too early to predict the cost of the disaster although one forecast around €500 million.

French President François Hollande visited the south west of the country on Thursday, which has been worst hit by the floods.

The head of state confirmed that a state of natural disaster will soon be declared for the region and promised all the necessary support .

“Everything will be done,” Hollande said.

The head of state paid a visit to the town of pilgrimage Lourdes and its Catholic shrine, which was submerged under raging flood waters earlier this week.

Lourdes sanctuary told The Local on Thursday the shrine may never recover and the town’s mayor said they faced ‘economic disaster’.

Hollande pledged his support.

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“Everything will be done to allow the sanctuaries to reopen as soon as possible. I cannot work miracles but it will be down to the will of the people to achieve this,” Hollande said.

France’s Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll said emergency measures would be announced to help farmers whose livelihoods had been washed away in the floods.

Le Foll said the country’s disaster fund would be made available to help the agriculture industry recover.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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