Xynthia’s Deadly Path Cuts Through Belgium


Portugal, Spain, France, Germany and Belgium were all hit by very stong winds and heavy rain over the weekend and into Monday.

Spanish authorities Sunday said two men in a car were killed by a tree toppled by a gust, while an 82-year-old woman was killed by a fallen wall.

Developing in the Atlantic off the Portuguese island of Madeira, Xynthia crossed France’s western coast late Saturday before moving on to Belgium and Germany on Sunday afternoon.

France, the worst-hit country, recorded at least 51 victims and several are missing, mainly in the western regions of the Vendée and Charente-Maritime. Many victims died either from drowning or from accidents caused by falling trees and debris from buildings.

More than 500,000 households had electricity cut and power supply was not expected to resume for three days, national power company Electricité de France said.

According to German official data, four people were killed in Germany after their cars were struck by trees dragged down by gusts. Frankfurt airport had to cancel at least 200 flights due to winds of up to 130 km per hour and the city’s central train station was closed temporarily.

A woman in the UK was reportedly killed in her car by rising floodwater as very strong winds lashed western Europe, killing at least 62 people.