One dead in violent storms in France

One dead in violent storms in France

Storm cell over a field in central France

Storm cell over a field in central France

© 2022 AFP

During severe storms in large parts of France at the weekend, a woman was killed and 15 other people were injured, some seriously.

During severe storms in large parts of France at the weekend, a woman was killed and 15 other people were injured, some seriously. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said the victim was “swept away by a mudslide” in Rouen, northern France, and drowned. A 13-year-old girl was among the seriously injured. About 15,000 people were still without power on Sunday.

According to Darmanin, 2,400 firefighters were on duty nationwide in 3,500 calls and 50,000 lightning strikes were counted. It was “the first time in 20 years” that such a large part of the country was traversed by thunderstorms at the same time. The Interior Minister spoke of significant damage, such as a bridge in Mayenne in the northwest of the country was “washed away”.

In the southern Landes and Gers departments, hailstones larger than golf balls caused damage to vineyards: tens of thousands of hectares of land were affected, said the head of the Gers agricultural authority, Bernard Malabirade. The winemaker Nelly Lacave in the Landes department told the AFP news agency: “There is nothing left in the vineyards, the roof of our farm building looks like a Swiss cheese and the windows on the house were broken.”

In the Loir-et-Cher department in the center of the country, around 30,000 scouts who had gathered there for Pentecost camping had to be brought to safety in a hurry. Ten thousand children between the ages of eight and 12 were accommodated at the local castle, Scout spokesman Damien Tardy said.

Corsica was meanwhile hit by a record heat. 37.4 degrees were measured in the north of the holiday island, according to the weather service France-Météo. This is a new high for the month of June. The weather service predicted more storms for France, moving northwards and eastwards through the country from the south-west.

Interior Minister Darmanin announced that he would propose to Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne to declare a “natural disaster” in order to simplify insurance compensation.

AFP

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