Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Ireland's missing babies casting light on a dark history...

Read more

WEB NEWS

World Cup 2014: Germany-Brazil inspires the Web

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Boutros-Ghali: 'I wanted to reform the UN'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

57 000 little problems

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

The Sarkozy 'threat'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Budget challenge for India's new government

Read more

DEBATE

Africa's Newest Failed State: How to Stop Civil War and Famine in South Sudan? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Africa's Newest Failed State: How to Stop Civil War and Famine in South Sudan?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Israeli strikes on Gaza as seen on social media

Read more

  • Germany asks US intelligence station chief to leave country

    Read more

  • Video: Muslims in China confront obstacles to Ramadan fasting

    Read more

  • Tour de France passes WWI Chemin des Dames battlefield

    Read more

  • French companies will have to accept anonymous CVs

    Read more

  • Israel steps up airstrikes as diplomacy gets under way

    Read more

  • Argentina beat Netherlands on penalties to reach World Cup final

    Read more

  • Foiled French jihadist ‘targeted Louvre and Eiffel Tower’

    Read more

  • Obama in Texas to urge congressional action on child migrant crisis

    Read more

  • Iraq’s heritage 'in danger' from ISIS militants

    Read more

  • Froome crashes out of Tour de France

    Read more

  • South Sudan independence heroes ‘have lost their way’

    Read more

  • 100 years on, the Tour de France returns to the Western Front

    Read more

  • Dozens of blindfolded bodies found south of Baghdad

    Read more

  • Both candidates say they won Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • Exiled Syrian opposition elects new president

    Read more

France

Prime minister attends mass for victims of storm Xynthia

©

Video by Aurore Cloe DUPUIS

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2010-03-07

French Prime Minister François Fillon joined mourners at a mass in the cathedral of Luçon on Thursday and gave a brief speech in honour of the 53 people killed by last week’s storm Xynthia, 29 of whom died in the hard-hit Vendée region.

Hundreds of people from France’s Vendée region gathered Thursday afternoon at a mass in Luçon to mourn the victims of storm Xynthia. Among those present at the cathedral was French Prime Minister François Fillon, who gave a brief speech in homage to those killed before a procession of volunteers, police and firemen.

Xynthia, a powerful storm carrying hurricane-force winds, rampaged across Europe earlier this week, hitting hardest in the Vendée region, where more than half of the total deaths in France occurred. Relief and reconstruction efforts have been launched in the largely flooded area, and the official death toll was put at 53 Thursday, with seven people injured. 

‘Lessons to be learned’

In addition to those casualties, French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said 72 others had been hurt, though less seriously. In an interview with a French radio station on Thursday, Hortefeux added that after “a time of mobilization and solidarity”, there would be “lessons to be learned” from the catastrophe, and how it was handled.

Asked about the possibility of legal action being taken against certain mayors for granting too many building permits in zones known to be at risk for flooding, Hortefeux answered that President Nicolas Sarkozy had ordered “an inspection and analysis mission” to “bring to light” all irregularities.

Hortefeux added that it was necessary to "accelerate prevention plans for natural risks and to create a plan to consolidate and improve dykes.”

Rescue crews are still wading through filthy floodwaters in once pretty coastal towns, scouring ruins for missing householders.

Around 50,000 homes remain without power and 52,000 hectares of farmland is flooded with salt water in what Sarkozy called "a national catastrophe, a human tragedy with a dreadful toll."

While the human toll of the storm has been high, French officials have not officially estimated the cost of damages. However, Bernard Spitz, the president of the French Federation of Insurers (FFSA), told the AFP news service that initial damage estimates could be getting on for a billion euros. 

Date created : 2010-03-04

  • FRANCE

    Search for bodies continues after deadly storm 'Xynthia'

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)