Disaster status and overseas relief fund mobilization: The French government wanted to show its support for Guadeloupe on Sunday, hit by Tropical Storm Fiona, reclassified as a hurricane as it approaches Puerto Rico.
Fiona caused a lot of damage during her visit to Guadeloupe on the night of Friday to Saturday, where she left flooded neighborhoods, destroyed houses, cut roads … In some places, the water rose by more than 1.5 meters.
On the territory of the commune of Basse-Terre, a man died, carried away with the house by the waves of a flooded river.
The south of the Bas-Terre island of the same name, the southwestern part of the archipelago, suffered the most.
“Return to calm confirmed,” Guadeloupe prefect Alexandre Rochatte wrote in a press release at noon (7 p.m. Paris time) on Sunday. Weather vigilance has returned to the yellow level of “heavy rain and thunderstorms” after 24 hours of red vigilance.
But the prefect immediately began to list the damage, in particular regarding the “highly degraded” road network. He specified that “4,000 users remain without electricity”, “1,200 – Internet and landline phone” and “20 Orange relay antennas, that is, 80% of subscribers in the south of Basse-Terre, are still unavailable.”
There is also a shortage of water, in many places the supply of drinking water has been stopped. Only eight of the 26 plants operated by the United Water Resources Union (SMGEAG) were able to process it again on Sunday at noon, the agency said in a press release.
And at noon in Be Mao, in front of the self-service fountain, a long line of residents lined up with cans to fill with drinking water.
In its bulletin, the Guadeloupe meteorological center described as “very impressive” rain accumulations measured since the beginning of the episode, on the night of Friday to Saturday, such as “534 mm at Saint-Claude (Matouba)” or “502 mm at Capesterre Belle-Eau ( Neufchateau)”. The equivalent of several months of rainfall.
– Upcoming visit of Minister Delegate –
Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin announced that the state of disaster will be declared “by the end of next week” in Guadeloupe.
In this archipelago of the Lesser Antilles, which is very concerned about climate change, in May several municipalities that were hit by floods in late April, which killed one person, have already recognized the state of disaster.
In addition to the state of disaster, the state guarantee of compensation to victims, the “overseas relief fund”, whose purpose is to compensate the uninsured property of the victims, will be “mobilized”, for its part President Emmanuel Macron announced on Twitter.
The head of state asked the Minister of Overseas Territories Jean-Francois Karenko to go there. The latter is due to make this visit next week, people close to him told AFP.
The sixth tropical system of the season in the Atlantic, Storm Fiona intensified into a hurricane on Sunday as it approached Puerto Rico with winds up to 130 km/h, the American Hurricane Center said.
US President Joe Biden on Sunday approved Puerto Rico’s declaration of a state of emergency, a measure that frees up federal aid funds.
More than 450,000 homes in the American Caribbean were left without power on Sunday morning, according to poweroutage.us.
With the warming of the surface of the oceans, the frequency of the most severe hurricanes increases, with stronger winds and more significant precipitation. In particular, they pose a growing danger to coastal residents.