Alex left behind a trail of destruction in the Maritime Alps region and on the coastline, just a week ago. That is the name of an atmospheric phenomenon of abnormal proportions, generated on the Atlantic Ocean that quickly descended on the Mediterranean Basin hitting Nice area, the Principality and the Italian Riviera, on Friday the 2nd October.
The incredible amount of rain fell inland made building and communication routes collapse with victims and missing people. On Friday the 9th October 2020, the Sovereign Prince and a delegation of French-Monegasque authorities visited the flooded zones on board of two helicopters, making a stop at Roquebillière, a well-known thermal resort particularly affected by the storm.
The Principality of Monaco, almost unscathed from the stormy weather, has promptly implemented a mobilization of means and resources in support of neighbouring populations always united by strong cultural ties. On the initiative of the State and of citizen associations a veritable intervention force was pushed spontaneously to grant financial, health, logistic and relief material aids.
The Sovereign Prince has promptly allocated a solidarity financial assistance equal to four million euros intended to support the reconstruction both on the French hinterland and on the Italian side, notably Ventimiglia, harshly hit by floods. From a health perspective, about sixty specialist staff from Monaco’s Cardio-Thoracic Centre, the Red Cross and Princess Grace Hospital have been volunteering to offer support to the hospital of Tende in close cooperation with PACA Agency of Health. Moreover, Monaco’s Fire Department and the Carabiniers have been actively engaged in rescue operations in between Var and Roya rivers.
“Considering the exceptional nature of power and volume of water, I thought to go on site instead of looking only at the images”, underlined H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco “that was even more impressive to see for real what caused this abnormal rainy phenomenon up to nine hundred millimetres of rain, a disastrous circumstance for the existing waterway network”, he added.
“What is really surprising is the number of raindrops fallen in such a short time that caused significant consequences”, reaffirmed H.E. Pierre Dartout, new Monaco Minister of State. “It is fundamental for our own safety to stay at home in order to allow rescuers to carry out their work”, pointed out Bernard Gonzalez, Prefect of the Maritime Alps referring to people who are living in the affected areas and to those who have a second house or a land in the outback.
“We all have many friends in the vicinity so we are all involved in this tragedy”, highlighted Stéphane Valeri, president of the National Council – “This event has aroused a great emotion in the Principality and now I am asking all Monegasque to make donations and offer help through the various ongoing initiatives”, he concluded. The Mairie de Monaco (Municipality of Monaco), in fact, is collecting food and hygiene products for families in difficulty.
The Diocese of Monaco is being organising in all parishes a collection of means for lighting, hygiene products and non-perishable foods. Monaco’s Red Cross is also providing food, equipment and sleeping materials for displaced persons accommodation. AS Monaco Football Club made furnished rooms available at ‘La Diagonale’ Academy apartment block.
‘Taxi de Monaco’ organized a solidarity trip to Breil-sur-Roya on board nine vehicles full of basic necessities. Some grocery stores have also offered their help, like the most popular bakery ‘L’Epi d’Or’ which is planning a special delivery of bread and ‘pain au chocolat’ to inland population, twice per week. Last but not least, the Monegasque brand Bettimask™ is supplying all deprived areas located in Roya valley, in Ventimiglia and in Nice region, drinking water and Coronavirus prevention masks.
In such a tragedy, the generous response of institutions and individual citizens represents an important source of hope to get out of the emergency early and start rebuilding, hopefully in a more sustainable way.