Aerial view of the flooded village of Hames-Boucres, in Pas-de-Calais, November 15, 2023 (AFP / Charles Caby)
The decline continues Thursday evening in Pas-de-Calais, still flooded, but where the levels of several rivers have fallen, with forecasts giving hope for a calm at least until Saturday.
This decline concerns “all affected sectors of the department”, assured the prefecture on Thursday evening in an update at 8:30 p.m. “Despite the rain, river levels have dropped significantly.”
“It’s the first time we’ve put our foot back on the ground since Thursday,” rejoiced Juliette Medelli, 35, resident of Madelaine-sous-Montreuil, dragging the boat that allowed her to travel to the strongest floods, near the Canche.
The floods of this coastal river, still placed on orange alert, have caused significant damage to her home: the paint is coming off the walls, the parquet flooring in the master bedroom is shaken as if after an earthquake. “We asked ourselves the question of moving.”
The Canche has started to recede well in Montreuil-sur-Mer, a few kilometers away, even if certain places in the city still remain under 30 to 40 cm of water, journalists from the ‘AFP, under a fine and continuous rain.
In Neuville-sous-Montreuil, Jacqueline Fievez comes every day to see the disaster in her house. “In the kitchen there was about 1.20 meters and in the garden more than two meters,” she said, wading through another 80 cm of water.
– Low precipitation –
It was in this town that Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne visited the victims on Thursday morning. “We are here in an emergency, but obviously we will be there for the restoration,” she promised.
“We will find a solution both to get through the emergency and to restore your business,” she assured Ulysse Toulet, a baker who “lost everything” in the floods that ravaged his business. .
A lull on Wednesday allowed a decline in several basins in the department according to Vigicrues: with the Canche, only the Lys plaine remains on orange alert, still causing “damaging overflows”.
A resident in his flooded cellar in Saint-Etienne-au-Mont, in Pas-de-Calais, November 15, 2023 (AFP / FRANCOIS LO PRESTI)
Five other departments are on orange flood alert with Pas-de-Calais, including neighboring Nord.
Pas-de-Calais seems relatively spared from the Frederico depression, which led to “significant rain in the Vosges” and “violent gusts” in the south-east, according to the latest Météo-France bulletin.
The forecasts anticipate light precipitation on Friday, “which would allow continued improvement”, underlines Vigicrues. “This lull should continue at least until Saturday,” according to the prefecture.
But vigilance remains essential because, on “soils saturated by the precipitation of recent weeks”, certain watercourses remain “extremely reactive”, warned Vigicrues.
– Record rains –
“The aftermath is going to be very complicated. People are tired, are exhausted, psychologically, physically, morally,” said Gwenaëlle Loire, mayor of Saint-Léonard, about fifty kilometers from Neuville-sous-Montreuil, expressing concern of the permanent departure of certain residents.
Graph showing series of 30 consecutive days with more than 150 mm of precipitation, according to Météo-France data (AFP / Sylvie HUSSON)
Although the damage promises to be major, the human toll remains at four injured since November 6, according to the prefecture.
Between October 16 and November 14, Pas-de-Calais recorded cumulative precipitation of 295 mm, the wettest 30-day episode in the department since measurements by Météo-France began in 1958.
Aerial view of flooding in Saint-Etienne-au-Mont, in Pas-de-Calais, November 15, 2023 (AFP / Charles Caby)
After middle and high schools which gradually reopened on Wednesday, most of the 1,290 schools closed since Monday have reopened, the prefecture announced.
Thursday evening, 5,200 people were still suffering from restrictions on drinking water, a situation which is expected to last for several more days, and more than a hundred homes remained without electricity, specifies the same source.
Rail traffic is still interrupted on two sections (Boulogne-Etaples and Saint-Pol-Etaples), according to SNCF.
Since November 6, nearly 1,500 people have been evacuated because of these floods, exceptional in their duration and intensity.
Although they constitute natural phenomena, floods, cyclones and droughts can be amplified by global warming generated by human activities.
Gn Fr France