France commune

Thousands evacuated, homes damaged in France earthquake

the earthquake struck Monday, November 11 at 11:51 a.m. It lasted about 10 seconds.

The town of Teil, in the department of Ardèche (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) was particularly affected, with around 250 old buildings heavily damaged, as well as two churches whose spiers seem threatened, and a church, part of which of the ceiling collapsed.

Images of the town show houses with collapsed walls, collapsed windows and shutters and rubble on the ground.

Four people were injured, one seriously. Hundreds of firefighters were called in to help make sure everyone had left the dangerous buildings.

Residents spent the night at three local gymnasiums which have been opened for those who cannot return home. Many have been told they will not be able to return until emergency services ensure the safety of their belongings.

Schools and nurseries remain closed today (Tuesday 12 November).

The production of three nuclear reactors near the Cruas-Meysse and Tricastin power plants has been suspended as a precaution, but no damage has yet been reported on the site, according to French Electricity (EDF).

The situation is also monitored by the Nuclear Safety Authority The Nuclear Safety Authority, said EDF.

Olivier Peverelli, mayor of Teil, said: “You cannot go up to the top floor of the town hall; the ceilings have collapsed. The roofs of the churches are in danger of collapsing … we did not assess the damage, but it is enormous.

An elderly resident said: “These are buildings that have been there for several generations. We have never had an earthquake. I never would have imagined that.

Another resident, Pierre Beaumont, said: “The whole wall has moved. Everything is broken, everything is on the floor.

Some children who were staying in gyms reported serious damage to their homes in news source FranceInfo.

One of them said, “Two ceilings have fallen; my father’s room cracked. Outside the building, stones fell. It is unlivable.

Another added: “At my place, the fireplace and the bathroom window have fallen, the furniture has moved, there are cracks in the walls … we don’t know when we can go home, so we stay. here. I’m afraid that [the earthquake] will start again. It was a little scary, really.

President of the local Red Cross (the Red Cross de Vals et d’Aubenas), Coraline Mialon, noted: “The [evacuated] the children played together all night, but sometimes you have to watch the one who is alone in the corner; a child who has trouble … we could see that he was quite traumatized.