Europe storm Xynthia death toll rises to 62; in France, 1 million without power

BOSTON — Europe storm Xynthia, which roared out of the Atlantic over the weekend and battered the coast of Western Europe from Portugal north to The Netherlands, had a confirmed death toll of 62 as of this morning.

At least 51 of the deaths were in France, the hardest hit by the storm, which flooded coastal areas with 25-foot-high waves and 100-mile-per-hour winds in coastal regions.

The storm also cut power to roughly 1 million French homes. The national electricity utility said that all power should be restored by Wednesday.

France has released 1 million euros to help coastal areas recover and has said it will also seek additional aid from a European Union emergency fund.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy toured the worst affected towns along the coast today. The storm was France’s deadliest since 1999.

Storm surges
Xynthia led to storm surges in coastal towns that saw flood waters rise to the second story of buildings and smash sea walls – some dating back to the 19th century, according to the French press.

”It is a national disaster, a human drama with a terrible death toll,” Sarkozy said. “The urgent thing is to support the families who have members missing or dead.”

While France was hardest hit, casualties were also reported from Spain, Belgium, England and Germany.

IN PICTURES: Storms hit Europe

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