Storm Alex: “In one year, a gigantic work of reconstruction has been done”, assures the deputy of the Alpes-Maritimes Éric Ciotti

This date will remain like a caesura, like a trauma, like a deep wound“, testifies this Saturday on franceinfo Éric Ciotti, LR deputy of the Alpes-Maritimes and departmental councilor. On the night of October 2 to 3, 2020 in the Alpes-Maritimes, the storm Alex had killed ten people, mainly in the valleys of La Roya and Vésubie. A year later, many works remain to be carried out, in particular on the highways, even if the deputy assures us “that a gigantic work of reconstruction has been done“.

franceinfo: What is the current state of play in the Roya valley?

Eric Ciotti: The Roya valley is undergoing reconstruction. Today, there is an access from the coast to Tende, the departments of the department have undertaken titanic works since there were 90 breaches which interrupted traffic in this valley, in particular in the gorges of Paganin. In a few weeks, access to the departmental road 204, the central axis leading to the Tende tunnel, will be restored. There remains a major point, it is the access to Italy by the Tende tunnel. And there, we have the will to make sure that the Italian State and the French State agree to go as quickly as possible. Then we also have access to Casterino, in the Roya valley, a Nordic ski resort. Work has started but it was first necessary to re-establish the central axis, and access to this hamlet of Casterino will be restored for the summer of 2022.

Beyond infrastructure, is it acceptable that disaster victims are still temporarily relocated?

The communities have assumed their responsibilities. Insurance also generally played the game well. So there was a general mobilization of the department, in particular. There are a few families who still have housing difficulties. None, of course, will be left alone and all will be accompanied. This storm expressed a gigantic outpouring of solidarity which was national with a lot of emotion and which was also departmental. Nearly 2,000 families have been helped, sometimes with very large financial sums, 500 companies as well. But behind, of course, there are human dramas. There are people who have lost their home, their work tool, their business and sometimes, as in my village of Saint-Martin-Vésubie, their family vault. So it’s a terrible shock to overcome. But the men and women of the mountain are courageous people and they are standing, they are raised.

A year later, everything is back. Of course, there are difficulties, but in one year a gigantic job of rebuilding has been done. This is what is positive in this drama. The strength, the energy that made us overcome almost all obstacles, even if a lot still remains to be done today.

In this Roya valley, is there a before and an after storm Alex?

Of course, the scars will never heal for the families of the missing. This date will remain like a caesura, like a trauma, like a deep wound. But there is also energy, strength to start again. And we were happy this summer that in our villages, while we did everything to reopen our tourist facilities such as the Vesubia Mountain Park, the La Colmiane resort, the Alpha park in Saint-Martin-Vésubie, there was a lot of people. This is also national solidarity, to continue to come to our mountains which are of extraordinary beauty. And we are moved to see both this strength and the serenity of these mountains.

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