24 October 2012

Update on the floods

The following message is borrowed from the HCPT Facebook page.

Here is an update from Phil Sparke, Chief Executive of The Pilgrimage Trust. He is currently in Lourdes, and visited the Domaine and town yesterday: 

"It appears that the two areas affected by the floods on Saturday morning were the area of the Domaine between the arches and the Grotto and the lower end of Rue Du Paradis on the side of the large hotels such as Alba, Paradis, Arcades and Mediteranee etc. Overall, an extremely impressive clean up job has taken place, with the Grotto now effectively back to normal and with hundreds of pilgrims there this afternoon and able to pass through as usual. The Holy Baths have not yet been brought back into use however after some considerable damage.

The main area still affected is that at the bottom end of the Rue du Paradis, where the hotels have no electricity and when we visited today were waiting for representatives of their insurance companies to visit, due today. A decision is awaited from the 

Ministry of the Interior as to whether this constituted a natural disaster as that will affect the insurance settlement. We spoke to the owner of the Hotel Paradis who was remarkably stoic and is confident that the hotel will be open again in February and certainly for us at Easter. He had been visited by the Minister of the Interior, the Prefet and the Mayor, but had much appreciated the expressions of support sent in from overseas from what he described as "extended family". Photo Durand had also been grateful for similar expressions of solidarity.

We also met a local bar manager on the same road who was wearing an HCPT sweatshirt and has not taken it off since being shown on television on Saturday night. His situation is also very grave but he was similarly impressive.

The Underground Basilica had received up to 1m of water but was clear when we passed by with final cleaning underway prior to receiving the next large pilgrimage this weekend.

So all in all the Shrine has bounced back remarkably well, and there looks to be no threat to any element of our Easter pilgrimage from what we have seen today.

With very best wishes from Hosanna House where an unexpected Across Group are having a wonderful week!"