France to declare state of natural catastrophe in flood-hit areas

PARIS (Reuters) - France will declare a state of natural catastrophe in the areas most affected by flooding in recent days, President Francois Hollande said on Thursday. Hollande told a conference of mayors in Paris that the measure would be taken in the next council of ministers and that the government would immediately activate a support fund for municipalities hit by climate events. Heavy rains have swollen rivers in large parts of Northern Europe. Several low-lying cities in France are partly under water and the river Seine in Paris was at its highest level in years. (Reporting by Yann Le Guernigou; Writing by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Ingrid Melander)