French Polynesia: Emmanuel Macron inaugurates the construction of an anti-cyclone shelter in the Tuamotus

French President Emmanuel Macron upon his arrival at Manihi atoll, in the Tuamotu archipelago in French Polynesia, July 26, 2021. AFP - LUDOVIC MARIN

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On the third day of his visit to the overseas country, the French president went to Manihi atoll an hour's flight from Tahiti to warn of global warming.

The Head of State came to inaugurate a shelter for the population threatened by the rising waters.

The opportunity also to highlight its contested record on ecology.

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With our special correspondent in Manihi,

Julien Chavanne

“ 

It's scary!

There is the sea which comes from the open sea, the water has come so far…

 ”Augustine will never forget this.

Thirty-one years ago, he found himself up to his shoulders in water.

Cyclone Oama had just hit the Tuamotu archipelago.

A scenario that is likely to recur. 

“ 

We are vulnerable and helpless in the face of the elements,”

explains John Drollet, the mayor of Manihi Atoll. 

Our low islands have to face waves of up to twelve meters.

 "

This is why

Emmanuel Macron

is there.

The Head of State is coming to inaugurate the Manihi school site which will also serve as a shelter.

So, show us a little what it will give

 ", asks the president.

“ 

It will be able to accommodate 534 people,

 ” replies the mayor.

“ 

It means almost everyone

 ,” bounces Emmanuel Macron.

“ 

There you go, 

” confirms John Drollet.

The taboo on nuclear testing

The shelter will be operational in five years.

A concrete action that the French president is putting forward to tackle previous governments: 

“I know full well that you have been promised shelters for several decades.

For the first time, a program of fifty million euros was decided and signed.

It will make it possible to set up seventeen shelters!

"

One subject will remain taboo during these few hours of visit: the nuclear tests carried out by France in the region.

Between 1966 and 1974, the French army carried out more than 40 atmospheric nuclear tests in the heart of the Pacific atolls, in French Polynesia.

Emmanuel Macron should only talk about it at the very end of his trip.

► 

See also: 

New revelations on the health consequences of nuclear tests in French Polynesia 

To read also:

 Emmanuel Macron, the first French president to go to the Marquesas

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