Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. 24/7 Space News .




SHAKE AND BLOW
Lourdes devastated as France counts cost of freak weather
by Staff Writers
Toulouse, France (AFP) June 20, 2013


France said Thursday it would declare a state of natural disaster in the southwest of the country after floods claimed three lives and devastated Lourdes.

Fears the Catholic pilgrimage site could be forced to close its doors to visitors for months receded with the flood waters Thursday, with church officials insisting that the town's celebrated grotto would be accessible to visitors within days.

But other sites, including the underground basilica, have been left facing a lengthy clean-up operation after the Gave de Pau, the river that flows through the town, burst its banks for the second time in less than a year.

French President François Hollande pledged his support, declaring "the state is there" for Lourdes on a visit to the town Thursday where he met with local residents who had been flooded out.

Thousands of tourists have had to be evacuated from their inundated hotels and visits to the grotto, basilica and other religious sites have been suspended since Tuesday.

"As the water has begun to recede, we are discovering bit by bit the extent of the damage," said Mathias Terrier, a spokesman for the Lourdes sanctuaries, acknowledging that it could be months before some of them reopen.

Lourdes is visited by some six million people every year with the numbers in July and August reaching a peak of up to 40,000 every day.

Many of the visitors are severely ill or handicapped, drawn to the town by the belief that its waters have curative powers.

The Catholic Church recognises 68 miracles linked to a town where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to a local peasant girl in 1858.

Flooding last October cost an estimated 1.3 million euros of damage but the clean-up operation this time will be significantly more expensive, according to Thierry Castillo, who is in charge of the Lourdes diocese's economic affairs. "We will need the support of everyone," he told AFP.

Although the level of the Pau river had receded significantly, those buildings that were not still under water were covered in mud, making it impossible for church officials to know the full extent of the damage.

Firemen were pumping three metres (10 feet) of water out of the Basilica of St Pius X, an underground church with the capacity to welcome 25,000 pilgrims, which was left unscathed by the October flooding.

The surface of the road between the river and the Church of St Bernadette had been damaged by the waters to the extent that the foundations of the church were clearly visible.

The death toll from the flooding in the southwest of the country rose to three on Wednesday when a 54-year-old woman was found drowned in her Renault Clio in a flooded wheat field, 100 metres from a road that had been closed to traffic on safety grounds. Two elderly people were swept to their deaths in nearby villages earlier this week.

The flooding in the southwest has largely been the result of a sudden rise in temperatures in the Pyrenees, where cold weather had kept snow on the ground much later than is normal after record falls over the winter.

Other parts of France have been hit by torrential rain or hail which have caused significant damage to some crops, notably vines in the area of the Loire valley where Vouvray sparkling wine is made.

Xavier Beulin, the president of farmers' organisation FNSEA, estimated the damage at up to half a billion euros.

"It could be as high as that because there are nearly 300,000 hectares that have been destroyed," Beulin said.

burs-am/ach/vjf/bm

.


Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
When the Earth Quakes
A world of storm and tempest






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





SHAKE AND BLOW
Lourdes closed, 200 evacuated after flash floods
Toulouse, France (AFP) June 18, 2013
French authorities Tuesday shut the grotto at Lourdes and evacuated about 200 people following flash floods at the Roman Catholic pilgrimage site. The preventive measure came a day after heavy rain and unseasonal snowfall in the area led to rivers flowing well above their normal levels, even cutting off some roads. "The Sanctuaries are closed," the local prefecture of the Haute-Garonne a ... read more


SHAKE AND BLOW
Scientists use gravity, topographic data to find unmapped moon craters

Australian team maps Moon's hidden craters

LADEE Arrives at Wallops for Moon Mission

NASA's GRAIL Mission Solves Mystery of Moon's Surface Gravity

SHAKE AND BLOW
Study: Mars may have had ancient oxygen-rich atmosphere

Opportunity Recovers From Another Flash-Related Reset

ExoMars 2016 Set To Complete Construction

Mars Water-Ice Clouds Are Key to Odd Thermal Rhythm

SHAKE AND BLOW
New Zealand emerges as guinea pig for global tech firms

NASA announces eight new astronauts, half are women

Lebanese start-ups seek tech boom

China confident in space exploration

SHAKE AND BLOW
Half-Time for Shenzhou 10

China's Naughty Space Models

China's space dream crystallized with Shenzhou-10 launch

China astronauts enter space module

SHAKE AND BLOW
Strange Flames on the ISS

Europe's space truck docks with ISS

Russian cargo supply craft separates from International Space Station

Russian Space Freighter to Depart From Orbital Station

SHAKE AND BLOW
Peru launches first homemade rocket

The Centaur Upper Stage

INSAT-3D is delivered to French Guiana for Arianespace's next Ariane 5 launch

A dream launch for Shenzhou X

SHAKE AND BLOW
NASA's Hubble Uncovers Evidence of Farthest Planet Forming From its Star

Exoplanet formation surprise

Sunny Super-Earth?

Kepler Stars and Planets are Bigger than Previously Thought

SHAKE AND BLOW
Raytheon extends ballistic missile defense capability through radar modernization effort

An innovative material for the green Earth

Scientists say pearls 'ratchet' themselves to form perfect spheres

Laser survey reveals detail of 'lost' city hidden in Cambodian jungle




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement