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WEATHER

Natural disaster to be declared after floods in south west France

The French prime minister says that a natural disaster will be declared after floods in the south west saw dozens evacuated from their homes.

Natural disaster to be declared after floods in south west France
All photos: AFP

The département of Lot-et-Garonne in south west France on Friday morning had 45 roads that were impassable, while six schools were closed and dozens of people were evacuated from their homes.

Visiting the area on Friday, Prime Minister Jean Castex said that the formal declaration of a catastrophe naturelle (natural disaster) would be put in place “after the briefest delay possible”.

After thanking the “quite exemplary” rescue forces and expressing the “solidarity of the State”, Castex announced that the file for declaring a state of natural disaster “will be examined, as always with great diligence, so that it can be declared as soon as possible”.

This declaration opens up emergency funding for local authorities and allows affected people to make swifter claims on their insurance.

READ ALSO What does a 'state of natural disaster' mean in France?

Large parts of France of been on high alert for floods all week, after days of torrential rain fell onto already saturated land, seeing rivers across the country burst their banks.

The Lot-et-Garonne département was put onto the highest alert and the River Garonne has overflowed in multiple areas, leaving some people having to be rescued from their homes by boat.

 

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ENVIRONMENT

Massive hornet-trapping campaign begins in south west France

Across south west France trapping campaigns have begun in an attempt to control the numbers of dangerous Asian hornets.

Massive hornet-trapping campaign begins in south west France

Trapping campaigns are organised annually at this time of year, as the weather begins to get warmer and queens begin to emerge from hibernation.

And the Charente-Maritime town of Royan Atlantique, on France’s west coast, is leading the way, as the below video shows.

Experts say that now is the time to begin using the traps, as catching queen hornets in the process of building their nests will lead to far fewer insects later in the year. 

Some 2,000 traps are installed in and around Royan this year, including 300 that were distributed to householders in the week of Valentine’s Day. 

Once installed, the traps can capture several dozen insects at a time.

In order to capture a maximum of hornet queens, traps should be installed between mid-February and mid-May. Especially since during this period, these predators end up coming out of their hibernation.

It is believed Asian hornets arrived in France around 2004. They have now spread nationwide.

Although their venom is not more powerful than that of normal bees or wasps, they are known to be more aggressive towards humans, and their stings can cause anaphylactic shock in allergic people.

The hornets also damage beehives and kill bees, damaging honey stocks and destroying the native ecosystem.

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