Ex-Mayor 4-year-term jail sentence over storm deaths, overturned by French Court

La Faute sur Mer’s mayor (left) and Vendée’s senator (right) in front of an aerial view of the 2 inundated towns of L’Aiguillon and La Faute sur Mer, Vendée, France. Photo source: ©© Sénat


Former mayor of a Vendée town has been handed a two-year suspended sentence in connection with the deaths of 29 people during Storm Xynthia in 2010.

The Cour d’Appel in Poitiers also upheld a ban on René Marratier, the former mayor of La Faute-sur-Mer, from exercising any public function.

Marratier, 63, was in court seeking to overturn a four-year jail term for manslaughter and ‘endangering the lives of others’ imposed in December by the tribunal correctionnel in Sables-d’Olonne, over his part in events that led to the deaths of 26 adults and three children from the town during the storm…

Read Full Article, France Info (04-04-2016)

Tempête Xynthia : l’ancien maire de La Faute-sur-Mer condamné à du sursis, Le Figaro (04-04-2016)
Le tribunal des Sables d’Olonnes avait, en effet, condamné en Décembre dernier, M. Marratier à 4 ans de prison ferme, son adjointe à 2 ans fermes et 75.000 euros d’amende, et M. Babin à 18 mois de prison…

Procès Xynthia en appel : «une énorme claque» pour les victimes, Liberation (04-04-2016)

La Faute-sur-Mer and l’Aiguillon-sur-Mer beaches, Vendée, France; By Claire Le Guern (03-2010)
The very last day of February 2010. It is 4:00 am. Howling winds, whipping rains, infuriated seas, and eight meter high (26 feet) crashing waves, are muffling the desperate cries for help…4:00 am… Twenty nine human lives are being swept away, drowned in the frigid and salty ocean waters. They were in their sleep, in their beds, in the comfort of their home. They did not understand, they could not react, most of them too old, too frail, or much too little to run for safety and climb on the rooftops, like most of the survivors did…
When daylight unveiled the disaster, French Prime Minister François Fillon held an emergency cabinet meeting and afterward called the storm a “national catastrophe.” French President Nicolas Sarkhozy, declared: “We have to find out how families in France in the 21st-century can be surprised in their sleep and drowned in their own houses.” Mr. Sarkozy added, “We have to shed light as urgently as possible on this unacceptable and incomprehensible tragedy.”
As much as this tragedy is utterly unacceptable, it is all too comprehensible and sadly, previously announced by warnings from many scientists, locals, and even more relevantly by an official 2008 report from the Vendée Equipment Department, DDE. The risks of marine submersion were known to the Vendée DDE, which strongly addressed and questioned coastal safety, citing in particular the fragile sea walls in L’Aiguillon-sur-Mer and La Faute-sur-Mer, as well as their existing location and development in flood-prone areas. “There is no doubt about the vulnerability of the Vendée coast to marine submersion”…

Developers don’t get it: climate change means we need to retreat from the coast, Guardian UK (15-03-2016)
It is preposterous to build in areas that are bound to flood. So why are real estate companies still doing it?..

Rebuilding the Shores, Increasing the Risks, The New York Times (04-09-2013)