Tuesday, 16 October 2018

The river rose 7 metres in 6 hours

Floods in Trebes: photo Benjamin Mathieu/France Info
Readers will have been watching the dreadful news from the Aude where villages around Carcassonne were deluged during the night of Sunday. Torrential rain, equivalent they say of 4 months' normal rainfall, fell in just a few hours and caused the river Aude and tributaries to rise by unprecedented amounts in just a few hours. A total of 12 people lost their lives in the floods; roads were washed away; vehicles dumped metres away from where they were caught up in the flow; homes destroyed or badly damaged. Inevitably the rescue services were themselves inundated with trying to ensure all survivors were moved to safe accommodation.
A BBC weather forecast a few days ago, commenting on the Portugal hurricane damage, predicted that the tail of hurricane Leslie would sweep across northern Spain and into the Mediterranean where the warmer water would intensify the rainfall over the Balearics and southern France. But it seems that it was even more severe than predicted and many residents were unaware that such a deluge was in the offing.
One or two shocked evacuees were understandably concerned that no warning was given and that the pompiers were late reaching them - but in extraordinary circumstances we are sure the rescuers did all they could. Probably some of our local volunteers will be going down to lend a hand with clearing up the debris.
The pompiers are mostly volunteers who give up their time to train and meet all kinds of emergencies. That is why Mains Tendues 82, our local fund raising charity, is making a donation to the Laguepie caserne on Friday - a donation it is hoped they will spend on enjoying themselves, not just on a new piece of kit.
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