Corsica heals its wounds in the aftermath of deadly storms

Corsica heals its wounds in the aftermath of deadly storms


Hit Thursday by deadly thunderstorms that killed five people across the island, Corsica was still struck on Friday, but the threat now lifted, it was time to take stock of the damage.  

Thursday morning, an “exceptional” phenomenon hit this Mediterranean island, according to Météo-France, with extremely violent winds of more than 200 km/h, which, in just a few hours, caused enormous damage.

“A wind of death”, according to the formula in the front page of the daily Corse Matin Friday.

But “the State will be there, in the function which is its own, to protect in the long term “, assured the Head of State, Emmanuel Macron, from Bormes-les-Mimosas (Var) on Friday. 

On the occasion of the ceremony of the 78th anniversary of the liberation of this village by the allied troops, the president also underlined that “these devastating cataclysms threaten, alas, to be repeated and to intensify”.

< p> “This is why we will have to rethink our alert and security systems,” added the Head of State, as criticism emerged of the late triggering of orange vigilance by Météo-France on Thursday morning.

The weather alert had “not made it possible to qualify these winds as necessary” which were “absolutely exceptional”, declared Friday morning the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, on the site of a devastated Corsican campsite by the gusts of wind, announcing an investigation by Civil Security.

Arrived in Corsica on Thursday afternoon, the minister went to Calvi on Friday morning in a disaster-stricken campsite, after a morning visit to the bedside of several injured at Ajaccio hospital.

He promised recognition on Wednesday of the state of natural disaster and the establishment of a “one-stop shop” so that affected companies can “get their insurance very quickly”.

“We have rather reassuring news” of the wounded “who were between life and death or whose vital prognosis was engaged”, he affirmed.

In fear of a new dangerous stormy episode, Corsica had been placed on orange alert for a second time on Thursday evening, with an interministerial crisis unit activated.

In total, some 12,500 people from the various campsites in Corsica had been “put to safety” in schools or sports centers for the night from Thursday to Friday, according to the prefectures.  

48 boats stranded

After a night without significant intervention by the emergency services, orange vigilance was lifted at 10 a.m. on the island, where nearly 3,000 EDF customers will still remain deprived of electricity on Friday evening, pending the reinforcement of EDF Corse by teams from Enedis.

The heaviest price of Thursday's storm was paid by an Austrian family, with the death of their 13-year-old teenager, killed by a tree falling on her tent, at a campsite in Sagone. 

Also injured, his sister was no longer in an absolute emergency on Friday. Very seriously injured, the girls' uncle was transferred to Bastia for surgery.

A 23-year-old Italian woman, seriously injured by a falling tree in Calvi, was still hospitalized in intensive care in Bastia and her condition was “stationary” on Friday evening, according to the prefecture.  

< p>The other victims are a septuagenarian, killed a few kilometers from the Sagone campsite when the roof of a straw hut fell on her vehicle, and two people found at sea: a 62-year-old fisherman and a 60-year-old kayaker.< /p>

Friday afternoon, the maritime prefecture indicated that in total the regional operational center for surveillance and rescue of the Mediterranean (CROSS MED) had carried out “110 operations” on ships “disabled at sea, damaged or stranded” which involved “nearly 500 people”. Out of “100 to 150 ships” concerned, “at this stage, 48 ships have been identified as stranded on the Corsican coast”.

But “subject to the latest checks in progress, there is no At present, no known concern directly linked to the climatic event of August 18″, reassured the maritime prefecture.

There is “medium-long term work to clean up the coast of boats stranded”, before “they become a danger with floating debris at sea or a pollution factor”, the spokesperson for the maritime prefecture also told AFP on Friday. 

“The paradox (…) is that we were delighted with this announced rain, because it was going to reduce the risk of fire”, explained Gilles Simeoni, president of the executive council of Corsica, Friday morning on Radio Classic: “But the announced normal rain turned into a killer wind hurricane”.