Floods in Pas-de-Calais. Families of victims invited for a well-deserved holiday at a campsite in Gard

Floods in Pas-de-Calais. Families of victims invited for a well-deserved holiday at a campsite in Gard
Floods in Pas-de-Calais. Families of victims invited for a well-deserved holiday at a campsite in Gard

Upset by the violence of last winter’s floods, the managers of a campsite in the Gard offered a week’s all-expenses-paid holiday to around thirty disaster-stricken families from Blendecques (Pas-de-Calais). A beautiful story of solidarity under the Occitan sun.

Images of the floods were on the front pages of all the newspapers this winter: muddy water as far as the eye could see, invading in great devastating waves the streets and houses of the Pas-de-Calais communities. The emotion aroused by the historic floods had crossed the whole of France, all the way to the shores of the Mediterranean, in Anduze (Gard), where Olinda and Frédéric Amsaleg run a campsite. The couple, overwhelmed by the flooded landscapes, are among those who spontaneously offered their help to the inhabitants.

In particular those of Blendecques, a village in Pas-de-Calais badly affected by the natural disaster, due to the overflowing of a branch of the Aa which crosses the small town.We knew that around thirty of our mobile homes were still unoccupied this summer”, recalls the manager of the campsite, which is now fully booked until the end of August.

Without much hesitation, the couple decided to lend them free of charge for a week to disaster-stricken families, and called the Blendecques town hall to propose the idea. It was unanimously accepted.

video duration: 00h01mn57s

Report from France 3 Occitanie on the group of Blendecquois disaster victims invited to spend a week at the Anduze campsite in Gard.

©France Televisions

A welcome respite for Marie-Paule Barrois and Nathalie Hammouthe, who are among the thirty or so happy holidaymakers. In perspective for this week: swapping worries and grey skies for rest and relaxation in the sun. Or almost… By a cruel irony of fate, the northern families were greeted by pouring rain when they arrived at the Le Bel Été campsite on Saturday 29 June.

We brought the bad weather with us“, laugh in unison the two Blendecquoises, who have not lost their sense of humor for all that. The two women, who came “clear your head a little” rejoice in the “warm welcome” during the welcome drink organized by the campsite.

There was a lot of emotion, smiles, thanks, adds Olinda Amsaleg, and tears too. People tell each other a little about their misfortunes”. So many tragic stories that managers can relate to, as they too experienced flooding on their land in 2020.We had nothing left either, the trauma is the same.”, the boss painfully remembers.

Happy faces at the welcome drink organized by the Le Bel Été campsite in Anduze (Gard).

© France Télévisions

The watchword is solidarity among the Blendecquois, who are planning group visits to local markets, steam train rides and hikes, with the return of good weather. Some even shared the road between Pas-de-Calais and Gard to save money. However, two families were unable to take part in the trip because the cost of the journey was too high, which they had to pay.

There is no business in our approach, it is simply solidarity and humanity.”, sums up Olinda Amsaleg. A beautiful story of generosity that warms the hearts a little in these turbulent political times.



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