Europe storm Xynthia death toll rises to 62; in France, 1 million without power

The death toll from Europe storm Xynthia rose to 62 Monday. France, the hardest hit country, said it would seek aid from the European Union.

Waves caused by Xynthia hammer the shore of A Guarda, northwestern Spain, on Saturday.
Rich Clabaugh/Staff

Xynthia, the storm that roared out of the Atlantic over the weekend and battered the coast of Western Europe from Portugal north to the Netherlands, had a confirmed death toll of 62 as of Monday morning.

At least 51 of the deaths were in France, the country hit hardest by the storm, which flooded coastal areas with 25-foot-high waves and 100-mile-per-hour winds in coastal regions.

The storm also cut power to roughly 1 million French homes. The national electricity utility said that all power should be restored by Wednesday.

IN PICTURES: Storms hit Europe

France has released 1 million euros to help coastal areas recover and has said it will also seek additional aid from a European Union emergency fund.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy toured the worst-affected towns along the coast on Monday. The storm was France's deadliest since 1999.

Storm surges

Xynthia led to storm surges in coastal towns that saw floodwaters rise to the second story of buildings and smash sea walls – some dating back to the 19th century, according to the French press.

"It is a national disaster, a human drama with a terrible death toll," President Sarkozy said. "The urgent thing is to support the families who have members missing or dead."

While France was hit the hardest, casualties were also reported from Spain, Belgium, England, and Germany.

IN PICTURES: Storms hit Europe

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.