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“We have to wait until the water recedes to see the extent of the damage”

Floods damage crops in northern France

"The equivalent of 6 months of rain fell in just 30 days," according to producers of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais. The northern region of France has been coping with record-high water levels and historic flooding for several days. During a visit to the area (on red alert), Emmanuel Macron announced that 244 municipalities (214 in the Pas-de-Calais department and 30 in the Nord) had been declared in natural disasters.

© Marc Fesneau Twitter

French Minister of Agriculture Marc Fesneau told FranceInfo on Wednesday that approximately 100 farms have been affected by the floods "to varying degrees. It is still difficult to fully assess what has been destroyed. [...] We will have to wait for the water to recede in order to get a fuller picture of the extent of the damage."

5 a.m. news - "The winter harvest is lost": in the Pas-de-Calais, producers in distress because of the floods

— RTL France (@RTLFrance) November 15th, 2023

© France 3

Endives: "A week behind schedule, but nothing to worry about!"
"Producers are getting impatient," according to Pierre Varlet, director of APEF (Association of French Endive Producers). "It has been raining for one month now, so we need to get the weather conditions back to normal as soon as possible in order to harvest the roots that are still in the fields. Two-thirds of the endive roots are still in the ground, which means that we are about a week behind schedule for harvesting, but there is nothing to worry about at the moment! In any case, the October/November transition period is always a delicate one. Yields are currently lower than average, and supply is fairly limited compared with the demand."

Potatoes: "We do not know the extent of the damage yet"
The Union of French Potato Producers (UNPT) launched an appeal to its members earlier this week to assess the damage. "Some plots have not yet been uprooted due to the extreme amount of rainfall, which is blocking uprooting operations. We are currently communicating with our members to find out the extent of the damage, but it is still too early to get the full picture. In the next few days, we will also be getting in touch with the French Ministry to find out how we can take responsibility, especially in light of Emmanuel Macron's announcement on Tuesday, and to make sure that the specificities of the potato crop are fully taken into account." But for UNPT, this situation "justifies better water management, and not only in the summer. It is utter nonsense to see all that water going out to sea while we should be storing it! Every summer, we are subjected to very strict irrigation restrictions. It is urgent that the French government take steps in this direction and come up with a strong response to this issue."

© France Info

Severe damage to vegetable crops
Cabbage, carrots, celery: vegetable producers were hit especially hard, depending on the location, with some crops "completely destroyed." Some producers reported having "lost everything."

Exceptional 80 million € [87 million USD] fund for Brittany, Normandy and Hauts-de-France regions
On November 14th, Emmanuel Macron announced an exceptional support fund of 50 million euros [54 million USD] during a visit to Saint-Omer.

Alongside the French president in Pas-de-Calais to support farmers affected by the floods.

We are activating the renovated crop insurance plan, its national solidarity compensation, as well as agricultural calamities…

— Marc Fesneau (@MFesneau) November 14th, 2023

"This plan for the Pas-de-Calais department will also be extended to the Normandy and Brittany regions, which have been severely hit by the storms as well," according to the government.

Emmanuel Macron and Marc Fesneau in the Pas-de-Calais department, on November 14th.

Marc Fesneau has confirmed setting up an exceptional 80 million €[87 million USD] fund for Brittany, Normandy and Hauts-de-France. The fund will be "intended to cover crop losses but also investment losses not covered by insurance."

🔴 Extreme weather ➡️ The French Minister of Agriculture announces that an "80 million euro fund" will be created for "Brittany, Normandy and Hauts-de-France" to "cover crop losses and investment losses." #8h30franceinfo

— franceinfo (@franceinfo) November 15th, 2023

Some damage in eastern France as well
Besides the north of France, the eastern regions have also been affected by the floods. Eight departments on alert: 7 departments in eastern France have been placed on orange flood alert. Haute-Savoie has been placed on red alert.

🔴 2 departments on red alert
🔶 10 departments on orange alert

— VigiMétéoFrance (@VigiMeteoFrance) November 14th, 2023