Lourdes sanctuaries flooded

October 21, 2012
Source: District of Canada

Big floods forced in Lourdes forced the evacuation of  hundreds of pilgrims and the closing of the main shrine. The Massabielle cave, where the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858 remained flooded on Sunday. This have been the floods which caused the most damage in Lourdes in the last 30 years.

As the waters receded to reveal thick carpets of mud, serious damage to the sanctuaries became apparent, but they were due to gradually start reopening from Monday morning.

Thierry Castillo, the custodian of the sanctuaries, told AFP: "There have been floods in the past but this one has caused the most damage in the last 30 years."

It was a fresh blow for the sanctuaries, which had a one-million-euro ($1.3-million) shortfall in last year's 30-million-euro budget after donations fell amid the eurozone debt crisis.

The custodian of the sanctuaries, Thierry Castillo, told that the serious damages will run into hundreds of thousands of euros. The streets bordering the Gave de Pau were carpeted with four inches of mud. More than 450 pilgrims were evacuated from flooded hotels Saturday.