Paris prepares for possible 'flood of the century'

Practice drill anticipating huge and devastating centennial flood

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Paris Prepares for Possible 'Flood of the Century'

As of it hasn't had enough terrible events in recent months, the city of Paris is preparing for a worst-case scenario: an epic, catastrophic flood that could decimate the region.

In 1910, the River Seine rose eight metres above its normal level and residents endured a massive flood.

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The '1910 Great Flood of Paris' saw many parts of the capital overwhelmed.

Now, over 100 years later, officials are carrying out a full rehearsal drill in case of another disaster on the same scale, reports France24.

Experts do not want a centennial flood – which refers its chances (1/100) of occurring on any given year rather than the frequency of an uncommonly large flood - to catch locals unprepared.

So city managers are anticipating what would happen if the River Seine burst its banks by running a practice drill.

Experts believe that if Paris experienced a 100-year-flood, major landmarks and boulevards would be inundated and flooded with water.

More than one million people would be without power, heat and safe drinking water. Infrastructure such as bridges, subways and communication networks would all be severely damaged.

Emergency workers say raising public awareness is essential. An expert said: "The population of Paris without a doubt has progressively moved away from a culture of risk.

"It does not always take into account the gravity, it is not always aware, though we know this risk of a major flood, which is a risk that will have serious consequences, will certainly occur in an unpredictable number of years."

Police suggest that a flood the same size as the one in 1910 would affect several million people, while 830,000 live directly in the flood zone.

Around 435,000 homes would be exposed to floodwater, and 100,000 businesses with 750,000 jobs would be affected.

The rehearsal will involve 900 emergency personnel, 150 police officers, four helicopters and 40 emergency vehicles.

Over 80 institutions, including Paris hospitals, the national rail network and energy firms will be involved.

Meanwhile, the Musee d'Orsay, which house hundreds of masterpieces, will practice moving works to pre-designated safety areas.

The emergency flood drill runs from 7 March to 18 March, and workers from across France and Europe will participate.


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