French PM sets up flood emergency fund

Manuel Valls visits flood-hit areas of southern Paris (4 June)Image copyright

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Manuel Valls visited flood-hit areas of southern Paris on Saturday and was due to travel to the Loire on Monday

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has announced emergency help for those who “lost everything” in floods that have caused havoc in Paris and elsewhere.

Millions of euros would be handed out by local leaders in the coming days, he said, after a meeting with fellow ministers.

Four people died in the floods that left areas inundated near the Seine and Loire rivers.

Hundreds of towns and villages have been hit by the flooding.

Fourteen departments were still on alert on Monday in parts of Normandy and the Loire, as well as the Paris area, and 7,000 properties were still without power.

Paris’s biggest museums, the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay, were forced to close as the Seine climbed to 6.1m (20ft) on Friday night, its highest level since 1982.

Euro 2016 kick-off

Mr Valls said that the fall in water levels would take time, and the fund “for extreme urgency” would enable people to pay for their initial needs.

He was due to visit the Loire town of Montargis, one of the towns worst affected.

The flooding has had a dramatic impact on parts of the rail network and overshadowed the run-up to the Euro 2016 football championship, due to start on Friday.

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Levels on the River Seine have begun to fall but officials warn that recovery will take time

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Some of the worst flooding was seen in the Loire town of Montargis

The French government is already grappling with a series of transport strikes against labour reforms and President Francois Hollande has said he is anxious to resolve the dispute before the football begins.

“No-one would understand if the trains or the planes prevented the smooth transport of spectators,” he told French radio on Sunday.

Further talks on the dispute that has hit the rail network were due to take place on Monday. Air France pilots are also threatening to go on strike on 11 June, the day after Euro 2016 kicks off.

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