Monday, 1 March 2010

The tempest

The short slideshow accompanying this Blog shows some pictures of the flood in the Netherlands in February 1953 and France in February 2010.

Whenever there is a gale blowing around the house I start feeling restless and uneasy. It brings back memories of the big flood of February 1953 in the South-Western part of the Netherlands, which inundated a big part of the country. I was a child then; I was not allowed to go to bed that night, which I, as a child, thought was extremely exciting.
My mother had prepared a little bag with “valuables”, which stood in the corridor, ready to be taken with us in case we had to be evacuated. I lived in Delft at the time, which lies approx. 1 meter below sea level. My father was glued to the radio (of course we did not have TV in those days) waiting for the message that one of the crucial dikes near Rotterdam had caved in, in which case Delft and surroundings were under serious threat of being inundated.
The days after the tempest were also very strange; my school was a collection point for clothing and blankets for those who lost their home due to the flood. Also slowly film coverage became available in the news reels of the cinemas; as said before, TV was hardly known then. When the French coastal region was under “vigilance rouge” (the highest alarm level) Burgundy was under vigilance orange. Contrary to February last year, when we were severely hit by a tempest, this time Xynthia skirted Burgundy. However, in the evening news of February 28 I recognised the same images; houses just poking out of the water, people being carried out of their houses, helicopters rescuing peoples from roofs....
The death toll in the Netherlands in 1953 mounted 1800; the flood in France made approx. 50 deadly victims. And no matter how different the scale of both events was, the desperation transmitted by the TV images was he same in 1953 as in 2010.

The website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle

No comments:

Post a Comment