French Floods Tear Through Shrine at Lourdes

Flooding at Lourdes in October 2013. Photo: Bob Edme, courtesy AP Photo.
Flooding at Lourdes in October 2013. Photo: Bob Edme, courtesy AP Photo.

As concerns of climate change mount, and related artist activism grows, torrential rains have caused severe flooding in the Languedoc region of southern France, killing at least four and flooding the shrine at Lourdes, reports Weather Underground.

The storm, which lasted for nearly 36 hours between September 16 and 18, is believed to have broken France’s two-hour record for rainfall, established back in 1979. In one five hour period, rain totals a few hours east of Lourdes in Montdardier matched the average accumulation for a full two months of precipitation this time of year.

Flooding at the grotto at Lourdes closed the popular Catholic pilgrimage site for the third time in the last year and a half, following floods in October and June of last year. Similarly, the Gave de Pau river has flooded outside the Rosary Basilica three times since June. Four campers are confirmed dead, and two more are missing and have presumably drowned.

This month has seen artists participate in several climate change awareness projects and events, most recently the People’s Climate March (see “Artists Rally for People’s Climate March” and “The Art of New York’s Climate Change Demonstrations“) and #FloodWallStreet (see “#FloodWallStreet’s Artist-Inspired Protest Descends On New York“), while the HighWaterLine project took to the streets of Bristol in the UK (see “Public Art Project Takes on Climate Change“). The French floods underscore the severity of the issue, and the need to address climate change now, before it is too late.

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