Evening Update Wednesday 7 October 2020

President Macron arrived on the Riviera this afternoon and has been visiting three of the villages most badly affected by last Friday's storm. He began by by visiting the village of Tende where he spoke to local officials, rescuers and local residents. He thanked rescuers for their courage and told local residents "the Nation will be with you". He said that large works would be carried out, on the railway first then the roads but it would take "four or five weeks" to get the railway running again and "months" for the roads.  However, he added that an access route would be opened via Italy "in the next few hours".

The President left Tende by helicopter at just after 5.00 and arrived in Breil-sur-Roya. At 7.00 this evening he went on to visit Saint-Martin-Vésubie . The president is scheduled to give a live interview to French TV at about 8.00pm.

During a press conference in Breil-sur-Roya President Macron revealed that the death toll as a result of the storm in the Alpes Maritimes has now risen to five.

President Macron confirmed this afternoon that an order had been made recognising the floods as a natural disaster. He said that it would "allow compensation to be triggered". To receive compensation those affected must submit claims to their insurance company within ten days of the order being published in the Official Journal, which President Macron said would occur tomorrow morning, Thursday 8 October. He said that 55 municipalities will be covered by the order.

He also said that assistance of some 50 million euros will be made available from the "Barnier Fund" which provides certain compensation for natural disasters not covered by insurance companies.

He said that an emergency fund will be established to which the French state will contribute 100 million euros in the coming days.

Alpes Maritimes Deputy Eric Ciotti today estimated that about 1.5 billion euros of damage had been caused by the storm. Emergency financial support has been announced at a regional level to help affected communities. A meeting of officials was held this morning to support local populations, businesses and farmers facing the consequences of the storm. Those present included the President of the Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur Region, Renaud Muselier, elected officials of the Metropole Nice Cote d'Azur and the Community of the French Riviera to present a solidarity plan. Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi was also present at the meeting. Amongst the measures, 5 million euros are being released for municipalities affected by the disaster. In total, each will be able to obtain 400,000 euros from the Region for work immediately necessary for the municipality. 40 million euros is being released by the South Region consisting of 20 million euros for the Department of the Alpes-Maritimes and 20 million euros for the Metropole Nice Cote d'Azur. The South Region is releasing 3 million euros for more than eighty affected farms in three valleys. 2 million euros is allocated to 1,600 impacted businesses.

Civil Protection 06 have said that this morning their teams are continuing operations to help those affected by the storm. Eleven emergency vehicles are being used in addition to two 4x4 trucks to carry supplies to isolated villages.

A large operation got underway this morning to remove storm debris from Alpes Maritimes beaches. The debris has been carried downstream by the Var and Roya rivers. Much of the waste consists of soil, plant growth, wood and plastic. Starting this morning, the City of Nice and the Metropole Nice Cote d'Azur mobilized resources incuding 80 Cleaning and Collection agents, a tractor excavator and loader, 4 storage boxes of 30m3 brought by 4 crane trucks. 250 volunteers are involved in the clean-up operation. Plastic and household waste will be transported to the Ariane energy recovery unit. The wood will be crushed and upgraded as material for recycled products or as energy.

Meanwhile, the Maritime Prefecture has reminded mariners of its "urgent notice" regarding the dangers posed by storm debris. Floating dams have been installed at Menton Garavan and in Monaco at Port Hercule and the port of Fontvielle to stop waste entering the harbours. Several vessels are being used to attempt to remove dangerous items from the sea. The French Navy are using sonar equipment to attempt to find a 2-ton generator set that ran aground at sea.

Local football club AS Monaco is providing four housing units to victims of the floods from Saint-Martin-Vésubie. There are close connections between the club and the village. The AS Monaco Academy holds it's summer camp in the village for three teams, the National 2, the U19 and the U17 , for their pre-season preparation courses. The stadium in Saint-Martin-Vésubie which is usually used for training was completely destroyed by the storm.

 

BUSINESS

Tesco has repored a rise in profits for the first half of its year. Pre-tax profit for the 26 weeks to 29 August were up 28.7% compared to last year. The company said that it had spent 533 million pounds in its response to Covid-19 and had adapted its offer to major shifts in customer buying habits with UK food sales up 9.2% but clothing down by 17.2%. The retailer more than doubled delivery capacity to 1.5 million slots per week during the period. Tesco has a new Chief Executive, Ken Murphy, who replaced Dave Lewis last week.

German factory output fell in August. Output was unexpectedly down by 0.2%. In July, output increased by 1.4%.

In the UK, mortgage provider Halifax has said that property prices rose by 1.6% in September. It said that it had received more mortgage applications in the past three months than at any time since 2008.


SPORT

Tennis... Petra Kvitova is through to the French Open semi-finals. She beat Laura Siegemund 6-3  6-3.

Rugby Union... Courtney Lawes will miss England's autumn schedule because of an ankle injury. It's expected that he'll be out for about 12 weeks.

Six more Sale Sharks players have tested positive for covid-19, according to Premiership Rugby. reports say that the total number of infections at the club in the past seven days now stands at 27. As a result, Sale's match against Worcester Warriors has been called off.

Cricket... Australia Women have beaten New Zealand by 232 runs in Brisbane. The final score means that the team have now have equalled the world record 21 game winning run in one-day internationals. The record was set by the Australia national team in 2003 when Ricky Ponting was the captain.

 

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