Rare earthquake damages French homes, schools and churches

June 17, 2023¬† –Around 170 people been relocated from the western French town of La Laigne after an earthquake on Friday evening.

The quake, believed to have been between magnitude 5.2 and 5.8 was felt from Rennes in the north-west to Bordeaux in the south-west.

Homes, schools and churches were damaged, with hundreds of buildings declared uninhabitable.

Earthquakes above magnitude five are unusual in France, with the last affecting the country in November 2019.

Two people were injured in the town of Deux-Sevres following Friday’s tremor.

The Charente-Maritime region just north of Bordeaux was particularly affected.

In La Laigne, the local fire service chief Didier Marcaillou warned the church had become “completely unusable” and a top government regional official said that most of the houses in the town centre were affected.

“The school will have to be closed as a precaution,” Nicolas Basselier said.

One woman cried as she told local station BFMTV that she had could no longer live in her home. “I wouldn’t wish this on anyone,” the woman, named Christine said. “In my son’s room you can fit your entire hand through the crack in the wall.”

Prime Minister √Člisabeth Borne described the earthquake as “unusual” and expressed her solidarity with those “who may have been worried”.

“We will obviously ensure that everyone has access to rehousing,” Ms Borne said.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said the government would initiate an accelerated natural disaster recognition procedure to help quickly assess the structural damage to buildings.

  • History of deadly earthquakes

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