Lionel Gougelot (correspondent) // Photo credit: Denis Charlet / AFP 18:58 p.m., November 07, 2023

This Tuesday, the inhabitants of Bourthes, in the Pas-de-Calais, see the damage created by the floods that have affected the department. The water rose to a height of nearly 1.60 m. Residents and the municipality remain speechless in the face of "this catastrophe".

The main street of the village of Bourthes, in the Pas-de-Calais, has been transformed into a real river after the historic floods of the Liane and the Aa. Only farmers' tractors can drive through the muddy water. Patrice Dumont, the first deputy of the commune, is still shocked this Tuesday evening by the rising waters.

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"In places, we went up to 1.50m, 1.60m. It's a wave that's arrived. We are certainly a basin that is sloping, but we have taken the waters that come from the right and the left. And now, we have people devastated," he said.

'It's a disaster'

Like Jean-Pierre and Patrick, two brothers who compare this flood to a "mini-tsunami". "The front door, with the push of the water, didn't resist," replies a brother. The other adds: "It's like having a little river that cuts the house in two. But I went upstairs. The hardest part is when you're at the top, you hear all the same ones tumbling down. I've never seen anything like it."

On Tuesday evening, it was impossible to return to the affected houses. Geneviève and her husband took refuge with neighbours and on Tuesday afternoon, the pensioner was only able to retrieve a few belongings from a devastated house. "We can't even open the doors because the water has caused the wainscoting to swell. It all started in the face of the mud. It's a catastrophe," the resident said. So much so that the couple now wonders if they will have the strength to return to their home when the waters recede.