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Army moves into tornado villages

Insurance company estimates €40million damage as troops set up temporary accommodation and clear up wreckage.

The army has been called in to clear up the damage caused by a tornado in Le Nord.

Around 100 personnel will help to restore the villages of Hautmont, Boussières-sur-Ambre and Maubeuge after they were hit by a tornado on the night of August 4.

The town of Neuf-Mesnil, which was also struck, has not asked for aid.

The troops will reinforce civil groups already helping those affected by the damage.

Winds of around 130mph carved a 10km trail of destruction damaging around 1,000 homes, leaving 200 completely uninhabitable in Hautmont – the town worst hit.

Three people were killed in the storm and thirteen were injured.

Lieutenant-colonel Patrick Hartmann said: “The soldiers are here to clear away the wreckage, salvage what can be saved and set up mobile homes.”

The Association Française de l'Assurance has estimated the damage up to €40 million with 3,500 insurance claims already filed.

The storms also damaged 400 vehicles.

The mairie of Hautmont said it had received an enormous amount of support from neighbouring communes and societies.

Photo:Afp/Francois Lo Presti

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