The Associated Press is reporting on the aftermath of Xynthia, the storm that slammed into Europe last weekend. The hurricane-force winds and huge storm surge destroyed seawalls and killed dozens there.
The article focuses on the past, present, and future challenges of devastated historic towns along the French coast.
New homes have cropped up chaotically over the years, often near the water.
The government “cannot exonerate itself from examining the application of laws in flood zones,” said Jean-Jacques Brot, the state’s top representative in the Vendee.
Some say there is a tug of war between local officials and the state over construction permits in flood zones.
“Each time a house is built, it’s money for the community,” said Leon Gendre, the mayor of La Flotte-en-Re, an ancient town on the Ile de Re. “Money is running all this.”
Jouanno said 643 French communities are in risky areas but only 46 have risk prevention plans defining zones where building is permitted, calling that “very insufficient.”
Damaged seawalls, strained municipal coffers, and battles over planning. Life in coastal France sounds strangely familiar, doesn’t it?
“France’s crumbling sea walls no match for ocean” (the Associated Press)