Flooding damages Lourdes grotto23 October 2012
Torrential rains in south west France flooded the Marian sanctuary at Lourdes for the first time since 1937, submerging the altar at the Grotto and closing down the baths for several days. At the height of the surge, there was more than 1.5 metres of water at the Grotto and along the nearby path to the baths.
The Gave river running through the area overflowed its banks and dumped tree trunks, mud and other debris over the property. The underground Basilica of Saint Pius X was also flooded. Hotels in the lower part of town were emptied and about 450 pilgrims were evacuated to congress and sports centres on higher ground before being reassigned to other hotels.
Officials say repairing the damage and clearing up the site will cost €2m.
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