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Lamalou-les-Bains: four years after the floods

LanguedocLiving, Sep 19

Four years after the flooding tragedy at Lamalou-les-Bains which killed four people, the investigation is at a standstill.

A huge wave 6.5 meters high, and 40 metres long came down the normally small Bitulet stream, and slammed into the campsite and the houses alongside the stream. The wave arrived at 11pm on 17 September, and surprised sleeping campers. Four people died that night, and numerous business and private homes were destroyed.

Six people, including the former mayor and his predecessor remain indicted. The mayor at the time, Philippe Tailland and his predecessor, Marcel Roques, together with four employees are on manslaughter charges, but the investigation is slow.

“The case has been taken up by a magistrate,” said the prosecutor of the Republic of Beziers, Yvon Calvet. The case has had several different investigating judges. “Even today, it is difficult to determine all the circumstances and causes of this tragedy, which is why it is premature to say what decisions will be made, there are indictments, but we do not know what the decisions are yet.”

Guillaume Dalery, the current mayor of Lamalou-les-Bains, elected in May 2017, was informed about the appointment of yet another new investigating judge. ”I refuse to comment as long as the procedure is ongoing,” he said. “I am waiting quietly until court decisions are made…What matters to me today is to move forward. We must remember what happened because these floods have marked us all, I do not know anyone who does not know someone who has been directly affected by the tragedy. We must have thoughts for all the victims, we must remember what happened, but we must move forward. It’s a duty that we owe them.”

This week, on Tuesday 18 September at 5pm there was a remembrance ceremony to honour the memory of the four victims.

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