Over 1,000 communes across France have been recognised as places of “natural disaster” following the droughts of 2022. Among them are 18 towns and cities in the Alpes-Maritimes and one in the Var.
A decree from the French government issued on 8th September has recognised 18 communes in the Alpes-Maritimes and one village in the neighbouring Var as being official natural disaster zones due to the widespread droughts that affected much of the country in 2022.
They join a list of over 1,000 other French communes also labelled as natural disaster zones for the same period.
Natural disaster zones in the French Riviera
In the Alpes-Maritimes, these are the designated municipalities: Ascros, Bendejun, Bézaudun-les-Alpes, Cabris, Cannes, Châteauneuf-Villevieille, Coaraze, Cuébris, Daluis, Mougins, Nice, Peille, Peillon, Roquette-sur-Var, Saint-Cézaire-sur-Siagne, Saint-Vallier-de-Thiey, Spéracèdes and Touët-sur-Var.
Vence and Le Tignet had their requests to be listed rejected, but Bonson, Castagniers, Castellar, Colomars, Drap, Rigaud, Tourrettes-sur-Loup and Menton are still in the process of review. A decision on their status is expected in the coming weeks.
In the Var, the village of La Cadière-d’Azur, which is situated between the Sainte Baume mountain range and the Bay of St-Cyr-La Ciotat, is the only commune to receive natural disaster zone classification.
What does this status mean?
Being counted as a natural disaster zone allows residents in the area to make specific claims to their insurers for financial assistance in dealing with issues caused by natural forces, as well as have their claim promptly dealt with.
Nature disasters can mean floods, mud and landslides, and, as is becoming more common according to insurers, droughts. In the latter case, problems tend to be caused by shrink-and-swell episodes – or “épisodes de sécheresse–réhydratation des sols” in French – which can cause damage to properties inside and out.
According to comments made to Ouest France by the national insurers’ federation, France Assureurs, the total cost of drought damage to French homes in 2022 could come to €2.5 billion, which would be a record amount since France introduced the natural disaster status in the 1980s.
Residents in the communes listed now have 30 days to contact their insurers and submit an estimated statement of losses.
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