One month, day after day, after the flood that drowned the Biterrois (262 mm of water per m2), the victims of the black village in Villeneuve-les-Béziers (Hérault) survive as best they can. Houses and workshops were submerged by 120 cm of water, mud, sewage oil or sewage. Today, the dwellings are empty, damp, and overgrown with the pungent odor of the aftermath of flooding. "I'm not defeatist but the financial situation is complicated, says Paulette Lagrange, 76 years old. My car is gone in wreckage and I have to gather 4000 euros at least to find another one. In this flood, I lost a part of myself, the story of my family, the photos that Paul, my father, brought back from America in the 1920s, and even the paintings of the known painter Joel William for who I organize exhibitions. I have no more furniture, except a table and chairs … "
The septuagenarian pays tribute to the mayor and the Secours populaire for their actions and tells the story of this sinking with sometimes humor. It is relocated in shared flat: 450 euros all the same for a room. And it is with great anxiety that Paulette observes the waltz of her electric meter: on November 22, she has already consumed 2,647 kilowatts for a bill of 429 euros to make the humidity flee, against only 115 euros the previous month … "Paulette does not complain. She is in shock, but she needs a car to be able to take her grandchildren to school, "says Marie-Christine, the friend with a big heart who comes to support her for these endless days of storage in the middle of the boxes.
"In negotiation phase with insurance"
For her part, Fatima, the neighbor of Paulette, whose house was swept away by runoff, says: "Today, we must rebuild. And, we start from scratch. We have nothing left. See yourself. All rooms are completely empty and it takes at least eight months of work to redo everything. Our luck is to be very well insured! "
Always along the RD112, the Occitane Auto Services garage is still not operational. "We lost 36 vehicles. We cleaned everything but we have to buy some equipment to do some mechanics. Everything was drowned or washed away, including the bank card terminal. We lost everything but we leave, "says Karim the boss. "For used cars, it will be longer because we have to rebuild a park and working capital has been washed away by the current," adds Norbert, the sales manager.
In Villeneuve-lès-Béziers, more than 200 dwellings were affected, representing 10% of the municipality's residential stock. "The victims are today in a phase of negotiation or even arm wrestling with insurances that do not make sense. The psychological support cell, a time considered, was finally not put in place, "says Cédric Moulin Renault the director of services of the city. Under the stormy sky and weather alert in the South, the only good news is the return of the rail service between Béziers and Sète. All trains have to move again this Monday morning. The end of the obstacle course for thousands of travelers.