Bishop calls for prayers for rain

Bright clear sky over lake with dry hillside opposite
Serre-Ponçon lake and the lands around it have had no rain for six months

After six months of drought the Hautes-Alpes are facing a ‘catastrophe’ with problems for farmers and future fire risk

With no rain for six months, the new bishop of Gap and Embrun is calling on parishioners to pray for rain to help “farmers, nature and the local ski economy”.

Monsignor Xavier Malle has asked for prayers in the Hautes-Alpes this weekend, which marks the feast of the Immaculate Conception for Mary, the mother of Jesus. Meteo France is already forecasting rain and snow showers for Friday afternoon and into Saturday.

The bishop told Alpes 1 radio: “Our department has been experiencing a terrible drought for the past six months. Obviously, people speak of the beauty of our region and each is proud to mention the 300 days of good weather a year; but in reality the situation is dramatic for all of us.”

He said the lack of rain was a “catastrophe” locally and was hurting local farmers but could also store up problems for the future with increased fire risk.

With less water in the rivers, residents in Gap could face shortages of drinking water and the lower water levels in hydroelectric dams could mean power cuts over winter.

Mr Malle said: “God can create good from this ill, an awareness of citizenship and Christianity. It can allow us to change our daily usage of water and also our choices of food, transport and heating, all of which contribute to climate change.”

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