Winter storm leaves thousands without electricity in France

January 26th, 2009 - 5:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Paris, Jan 26 (DPA) Nearly 700,000 households remained without electricity in south-western France following the weekend’s winter storm which killed at least nine people, French media reported Monday.In addition, many of the stricken homes were also deprived of drinking water because the pumps were powered by electricity.

The head of the utility EDF, Pierre Gadonneix, said electric current would be restored to 90 percent of the households within a week.

Some 1.7 million households were without electricity during the height of the hurricane as winds of more than 180 km per hour tore down power lines and uprooted trees.

The number of deaths linked to the most violent storm to strike France in nearly 10 years rose to nine overnight with the discovery of four people killed by carbon monoxide because their heaters ceased to function due to the power cut.

The national weather service Meteo-France issued a 24-hour flood alert beginning 0500 GMT for the region, as more rain was forecast to fall.

The French Army was set to deploy another 700 soldiers later Monday to aid the 300 already on the ground in restoring power and clearing roads.

Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said Monday that the government would declare a state of disaster within two weeks for the region.

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