Why the Bihucourt tornado is not recognized as a natural disaster

The Pas-de-Calais prefecture explains that the damage caused by the violent winds of a tornado is covered by the “storm, hail and snow” insurance of insurance contracts.

The tornado that hit the town of Bihucourt on October 23 will not be recognized as a “natural disaster”.

The Pas-de-Calais prefecture does not consider this recognition necessary and evokes “strong winds”. According to her, the damage caused by the latter is covered by the “storm, hail and snow” insurance guaranteed by the insurance contracts.

The departmental authority therefore considers that the victims can be compensated without the State needing to intervene, the state of natural disaster allowing better coverage by insurance. The usefulness of the recognition of a state of natural disaster is precisely to allow compensation for damages not included in the contracts.

90 houses affected

On October 23, a tornado traveled at least 147 kilometers between the Somme, Belgian Hainaut, the North but also Pas-de-Calais. In the latter department, gusts of wind of up to 270 km / h crossed 20 kilometers, including the town of Bihucourt.

The tornado caused significant damage in this town, which was deprived of water and electricity for a while. In all, 90 houses have been affected by the weather, and 48 are completely uninhabitable. Between 150 and 200 inhabitants were to be rehoused.

“All the tiles are gone, in our main room, we no longer have a roof, we no longer have a bay window… Inside, it has collapsed, there is glass wool everywhere “, had testified a local resident at the microphone of BFMTV.

Similar situation in Hautmont

The inhabitants therefore expected the recognition of the state of natural disaster, in view of all this damage. But in 2008 already, a tornado had hit the town of Hautmont (North). Three people died, others were injured and many homes were damaged.

The state of natural disaster was recognized at the time but only for mudslides and landslides, facts not taken into account by insurance contracts according to the prefecture.

Hamza Ouarb with Marine Langlois

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