Lunchtime News Wednesday 18th August 2021


#Var - One dead and another reported missing - The fire that is ravaging the Massif des Maures, in the hinterland of Saint-Tropez, has caused the death of a man in Grimaud and a woman has been reported missing.

Speaking to French media this morning the prefect of the Var, Evence Richard, said "the night was complicated because the fire spread towards the north-east in the direction of Plan-de-la-Tour" and "the D14 west of Cogolin". He added that “the fire is likely to move towards areas that will be more or less inhabited," mentioning that "a good ten thousand people" have been evacuated since the beginning of the disaster. In terms of material damage, he reported "at least one campsite totally destroyed and others seriously damaged.

1,200 firefighters are still mobilized today Wednesday 18th August, to try to extinguish the biggest fire of the summer in France. The body of a man in his fifties was discovered at his home in Grimaud. An investigation has been opened to determine the cause of death. Police have also confirmed that an investigation is underway following the disappearance of a 32-year-old woman. Her relatives say they have had no news since the fire broke out on Monday night.

The water bombing planes and helicopters went back into action at 7am this morning. According to the latest fire department report the blaze, which started on Monday near a motorway service area, has covered 6,675 hectares and burned 5,000 hectares in the region.

Emmanuel Macron and Gérald Darmanin, the Minister of the Interior, arrived on the scene on Tuesday afternoon to meet with firefighters. Despite the mobilization of 750 of them since Monday, a hundred homes were affected by the flames.

Many roads are closed to traffic: RD33 (Le Luc-Les Mayons), RD75 (Gonfaron-La Garde-Freinet), RD558 (La Garde-Freinet-Grimaud), RD14 (Grimaud), RD2048 (Grimaud), RD27 (La Môle).

The prefecture also asks the inhabitants not to drive between Bormes-les-Mimosas and the Gulf of Saint-Tropez, in both directions. Also, people who have been evacuated from their homes should not return, explains the prefecture. 120 gendarmes have also been deployed to secure the sites, control access and traffic. The fire is one of the biggest to have hit the region this summer.

Drought alert - 18 communes of the Côte d'Azur have been placed on a drought alert. The prefecture of the Alpes-Maritimes introduced the water restrictions on Tuesday, and they are in place until August 31st.

Watering your garden during the day between 9am and 7pm, filling your pool, washing your car is now forbidden, the towns concerned: Bar-sur-loup, Cagnes-sur-mer, Caussols, Châteauneuf-de-Grasse, Cipières, La Colle-sur-loup, Courmes, Gourdon, Gréolières, Opio, Roquefort-les-pins, Le Rouret, Saint-Jeannet, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Tourrettes-sur-loup, Valbonne, Vence and Villeneuve-Loubet.

Mayor of Nice against welcoming Afghan refugees - While it was reported this morning, that several mayors in France have expressed that they are happy to welcome Afghan refugees, including the mayor of Marseille, the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi, has this morning said he “does not want to welcome Afghan refugees to Nice.”

Reacting to the arrival of the Taliban in power in Afghanistan on French radio this morning Estrosi announced that “he did not want to welcome Afghan refugees in Nice” adding that “Nice has been a victim of terrorism in recent years in a considerable way with the attack of July 14th on the Promenade des Anglais and that of the Notre-Dame Basilica”.

The elected official went on to say that he would like to see France implement a migration policy of quotas, "similar to the policy introduced under former French President Nicolas Sarkozy”.    

French health authorities report that there are 2,000 intensive care covid patients, a level last seen in June - According to data from health authorities in France nearly 2,000 people are currently in intensive care due to covid, a level not reached since mid-June. Authorities counted 245 new admissions to intensive care in the last 24 hours.

A significant number of these hospitalizations in critical care are concentrated in the south of France, in the Paris region, in Guadeloupe and in Martinique.

As France fears saturation in its hospitals due to the fourth wave and the spread of the Delta variant the University Hospital of Pointe-à-Pitre in the French West Indies in Guadeloupe is already on the verge of collapse.

Pope pleads for people to get vaccinated - Meanwhile the pope has today Wednesday 18th August, pleaded with people to get vaccinated saying that getting vaccinated against covid is “an act of love”. In a video message he called on people to get vaccinate saying that "helping to ensure that the majority of people are vaccinated is an act of love. Love for oneself, love for one's family and friends, love for everyone”.

Nice amongst most expensive cities to study in - According to the annual study published by Unef Paris, Nice, Lyon and Bordeaux are among the most expensive university cities in France. The cost of living has increased by 2.5% for students in 2021, due in particular to the increase in the price of transport.

According to the union, the increase in the price of public transport (+0.97% on average) is a factor, but also the decline in direct aid to students in recent years. Under the current government aid has decreased by nearly 40 euros per year and per student compared to 2016.

Unsurprisingly, Paris remains the most expensive city to study in, according to the 2021 ranking of university towns drawn up by the Unef*, published on Wednesday 18 August. A student in the capital pays on average, in 2021, 1 277 euros each month to live.

In the regions, the most expensive city is Nice (1,065 euros), ahead of Lyon (1,036 euros) and Bordeaux (1,010 euros). Saint-Étienne (802 euros), Poitiers (802 euros) and Limoges (793 euros) are the most affordable cities.

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