The Heat Is Online

Damages from French Windstorms Exceed $10 billion

France seeks EU aid for environmental disasters

Reuters News Service, Jan. 24, 2000

PARIS - France has officially asked the European Union for funds to help repair damage caused by last month's violent storms and pollution from the sunken oil tanker Erika.

"In particular, the government wants to be granted rights to structural funds for reconstruction and restoration projects in the areas and (business) sectors affected," Prime Minister Lionel Jospin's office said in a statement.

Two violent storms pounded the country in the last week of 1999, killing more than 80 people and causing up to 10 billion euros ($10.17 billion) of economic damage.

In a separate environmental disaster, thousands of tonnes of viscous fuel oil from the wrecked tanker

Erika washed ashore France's Atlantic seaboard over the Christmas period. Some 400 km (250 miles) of coastline have now been smeared with oil, threatening both the tourism and fishing industries.