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After deadly storms, calm returns to Corsica

After a day of very brutal thunderstorms that killed five people across Corsica, new “widespread thunderstorms” were reported by Météo-France overnight from Thursday to Friday. However, they did not require any major intervention. Friday afternoon, the threat receded, with the lifting of orange vigilance by Météo-France.

New “widespread thunderstorms” hit Corsica overnight from Thursday to Friday, the day after a particularly violent stormy episode that killed five people. The orange vigilance was finally lifted in the morning.

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

In the campsites, the stigmata were omnipresent: at “La pinède” in Calvi (Haute-Corse), the campsite where a 45-year-old man lost his life, several bungalows were crushed under the weight of huge uprooted pines.

An open investigation

Arrived in Corsica on Thursday afternoon, with a passage in a first campsite hit by gusts, in Sagone, in Corse-du-Sud, the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin visited Friday morning in Calvi another disaster-stricken campsite, after a morning visit to the bedside of several wounded at Ajaccio hospital.

In this establishment, emptied of its 700 occupants because still deprived of water and electricity, like 4,800 EDF customers in Corsica, the traces of the breakfasts abandoned Thursday by holidaymakers still remained, at the foot of the overturned tables and chairs.

Stressing in passing that Thursday morning’s weather alert had “not made it possible to properly qualify these winds” which were “absolutely exceptional”, Gérald Darmanin announced a civil security investigation.

“We have rather reassuring news” of the four injured “who were between life and death or whose vital prognosis was engaged”, also welcomed the minister, describing as “a request for common sense” the wish expressed by the manager of the campsite to be able to create a permanent shelter to protect holidaymakers, in a pine forest where this is however prohibited by the town planning code.

In fear of a new dangerous stormy episode, Corsica had been placed on orange alert for a second time on Thursday evening. And an interministerial crisis unit chaired by Emmanuel Macron from Fort Brégançon (Var) had been activated. In total, some 12,500 people from the various campsites in Corsica have been “brought to safety” in schools or sports centers across the island for the night, according to the prefectures.

Orange vigilance lifted

After a night without significant intervention by the emergency services, thunderstorms roared again over Ajaccio in the morning, causing heavy rain. But from 10 a.m., Météo-France lifted the orange vigilance on the island. As expected the day before.

“Stormy showers still affect the island until mid-afternoon” but “the intensity of these storms no longer requires orange vigilance”, explained the organization in its latest bulletin.

The heaviest price for 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, in a campsite in Sagone. Also injured, his sister was no longer in absolute emergency on Friday morning. Very seriously injured, the girls’ uncle was transferred to Bastia for surgery.

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

Friday morning, the maritime prefecture told AFP that it had “no report of concern by relatives” about “people (at sea) of whom we would not have heard”. But “you have to go and check, by identifying the stranded or damaged boats, if the owners were on board and if they managed to get out of it by themselves or if they were not on board”.

There is also “medium-long term work to clean up the coast of stranded boats”, before “they become a hazard with floating debris at sea or a pollution factor”, added the carrier. word of the maritime prefecture.

“The paradox (…) is that we were delighted with this announced rain because it was going to reduce the risk of fires”, lamented Gilles Simeoni, president of the Executive Council of Corsica, Friday morning on Radio Classique. , regretting “a totally unpredictable situation”.

With AFP