“Worst drought on record”: French government sets up heat crisis team

In view of the ongoing drought in France, Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne has set up a crisis team. “This drought is the worst that has ever been recorded in our country,” it said in a statement on Friday.

The extreme drought could last for two weeks or even worsen. The drought is a “disaster” for farmers across the country and for the environment.

The lack of rain is exacerbated by successive heat waves, which increase both evaporation and the need for water. Borne called on the population to use water sparingly.

In view of this “historic situation”, the prime minister decided to set up an interdepartmental crisis team, her office said.

Among other things, the crisis team should regularly obtain reports from the departments most affected, prepare emergency plans and coordinate possible measures such as the delivery of drinking water.

According to Environment Minister Christophe Béchu, the drinking water supply has already collapsed in more than a hundred French communities. The affected communities are now being supplied with drinking water by truck, “since there is nothing left in the pipes,” said Béchu during a visit to Roumoules in south-eastern France.

Béchu also called on the regions affected by water shortages to take action in good time: “If you have to get water, you shouldn’t wait until the morning when there is no more water in the pipes to do it.”

At the same time, Béchu assured that the more tense the situation is, the more priority will be given to making water available for drinking instead of, for example, for industry.

In France, large parts of the mainland are now suffering from drought. Depending on the severity, there are different restrictions on water use – for example when watering.

According to UN experts, countries like France will have to adapt to longer and longer dry periods in view of climate change. (dpa, AFP)

By Editor