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Page last updated at 14:09 GMT, Monday, 1 March 2010

Eyewitness: France storms

A street under water in Aiguillon sur Mer in the Vendee, Photo: Jason Khan
Winds reached a speed of up to 140km/h (87mph). Photo: Jason Khan

At least 50 people have died in violent storms that have swept across Western Europe from Portugal to Germany.

Many of the victims were in France, where a national disaster was declared.

Here, readers in some of the affected areas describe the destruction and the relief effort.

Jason Khan, Lairoux, Vendee

Our village is only ten minutes from the coast which is badly flooded. We are on a higher ground so we suffered only wind damage.

It was the worst storm I have ever experienced. We lost three large trees in our garden, but our house suffered only a few broken tiles.

Many other houses have had roof damage and the centre of our village is still without electricity since 0300 on Sunday morning.

A street under water in Aiguillon sur Mer in the Vendee, Photo: Jason Khan
Jason: Some areas will take a while to recover as they are still at least three feet under water

And we are cut-off from the nearest village. But I understand there is a huge emergency operation going on down there.

Emergency services look to be coping well but we have heard that we might not have electricity until Wednesday.

Down at La Faute the port area and camping sites will take a while to recover as they are still at least three feet under water.

Sadly the death toll will probably rise as more houses are opened up.


Karen Hawke, Pioussay

We are about 120km away from La Rochelle inland, so we haven't suffered flooding, but there's considerable damage in the area.

Things have calmed down now after the incredibly high winds, which hit our area on Saturday. The winds reached 160km/h, making sure no-one could sleep.

We lost our chimney - it crashed down onto our roof. When I look out of my window, practically every house I see has roof damage.

The oyster and mussel beds have been flooded, and these businesses will take some time to recover

It's a rural area, so many minor roads have been blocked by fallen trees. We also lost our electricity, internet and telephone connections, though they were restored late last night.

I find it incredible to believe that La Rochelle town centre was completely under water. It's surrounded by high walls and the pictures from last night showed water was still a metre above the pavement.

The islands nearby have suffered the worst damage. This region relies heavily on fishing.

The oyster and mussel beds have been flooded, and these businesses will take some time to recover. It's quite unfortunate because the oysters suffered from an infection last year and they were still in the process of recovery.

I saw a local fisherman on the TV lifting his arms in despair wondering what destruction the receding waters will reveal. Structures could have been destroyed and oysters and mussels washed away.



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