Pas-de-Calais still on red alert for risk of flooding

A month and a half after a historic rainy episode, Pas-de Calais has not finished with the floods

Pas-de-Calais still on red alert for risk of flooding

A month and a half after a historic rainy episode, Pas-de Calais has not finished with the floods. The Hauts-de-France department is classified as red alert for flood risk, and orange for rain-flood risk, in the latest Météo-France bulletin, Wednesday January 3, at 6 a.m.

The Aa, which crosses Saint-Omer, must reach “exceptional levels (…) from the evening”, warned Vigicrues on Tuesday, which classifies the coastal river in red and most of the other rivers in the department in orange. “At 6 a.m., in Pas-de-Calais, we recorded an additional 7 millimeters (mm) to 15 mm of rain brought by the showers during the night,” Météo-France said on Wednesday morning. Around fifty people were evacuated on Tuesday in Pas-de-Calais.

Aisne has also been added to the list of departments on orange alert which already included the Ardennes, Meuse, Moselle, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Nord and Finistère. Floods also took place in Loire-Atlantique, where around twenty people had to be rehoused, according to the prefecture.

“We carried out nearly fifty evacuations today alone,” announced the prefect of Pas-de-Calais, Jacques Billant, during a press briefing. The department could record “nearly 100 mm of rain” accumulated in six days between last Saturday and Thursday, he added.

“Very substantial means, pumping in particular”, will be deployed, notably through “requisitions” in the private sector and aid from other European states, announced the Director General of Security civil servant at the Ministry of the Interior, Julien Marion.

The Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, announced on X Tuesday that he had given instructions “to strengthen the emergency system” with 120 new firefighters and civil security soldiers. The President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, spoke on the telephone with the mayors of Saint-Omer and Blendecques to assure them of his support and that of the State, Agence France-Presse learned from those around him.

“Afraid of reliving the same scenario as two months ago”

In Rebecques, a campsite housing around fifty people year-round was flooded and seventeen people sheltered in a village hall.

In November 2023, nearly three weeks of flooding in the department caused five minor injuries and significant damage. Thousands of homes had sometimes been flooded several times a few days apart, but also farms, shops and businesses.

“Residents are afraid of reliving the same scenario as two months ago,” summarizes Philippe Macrel, deputy mayor of Neuville-sous-Montreuil where only one access remained passable by car on Tuesday.

“I find myself in the same situation as two months ago,” notes Thomas Quandalle, a dairy cow breeder in Bréxent-Enocq, near Montreuil-sur-Mer, who for the third time since the beginning of November had to send a fifty animals with other breeders, while water flowed into his stables.