Napoleon-era sea walls blamed for French storm deaths

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Decaying sea walls going back to the time of Napoleon were being blamed for the deaths of at least 50 people in violent storms which ravaged France.

In a growing scandal, those left homeless by the disaster on the western coast said proper Atlantic defences could have saved everybody.

"The sea was being held back by puny walls which were hundreds of years old," said a Gilles Aucoin, who lives near the town of L'Aiguillon-sur-Mer.

"Massive waves were able to crash through our streets and drown people. This should have been predicted a long time ago and dealt with by proper town planning.

"A mobile home park was near one of the sea walls and that’s where a lot of people drowned."...

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