Wed, 29 Nov 2023

PARIS, France: Overflowing rivers caused by heavy rains in northern France have flooded houses and fields and forced the evacuation of residents, with some being airlifted to safety.

More than 100 towns in the region are on red alert, and around 200 schools have been closed.

"It is catastrophic," said 32-year old poultry farmer Gaetan Guche, who added that the flood waters had killed some of his chickens, and he feared the spread of disease amid the humidity.

"We have to wait for the water to go down before we can see the whole damage. But I have had losses in chickens, financial losses in terms of seeds and equipment, and so today, it is really hard," he said.

Meanwhile, strawberry farmer Jean-Loup Mionnet said next spring's harvest was compromised, stressing he will have few to no strawberries.

"We have never seen something like that," said campsite owner Jean-Marc Joyez in the affected village of Enquin-sur-Baillons.

Dozens of towns would be considered in a situation of natural disaster, which makes it easier for those whose homes or businesses were flooded to benefit from insurance coverage, said Environment Minister Christophe Bechu.

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