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France declares state of natural catastrophe for Reunion Island

Jan. 4, 2014 at 12:43 PM

PARIS, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- France declared a state of natural catastrophe Saturday for Reunion Island after a deadly cyclone buffeted the Indian Ocean island earlier in the week.

At least one person was killed and 16 others injured Thursday and Friday during Cyclone Bejisa, Radio France Internationale reported.

Victorin Lurel, France's minister of overseas territories, arrived on Reunion Island Saturday, telling residents they could make insurance claims for damages caused by Bejisa, the island's worst storm in 20 years.

Bejisa -- with winds of more than 90 mph -- uprooted trees, caused heavy flooding and interrupted power for 180,000 customers, French utility EDF said.

RFI said 80,000 homes in seven of the island's 24 districts didn't have clean water after the storm hit.

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