World

Luxembourg clears up after rare tornado blasts through towns near French, Belgian borders

AFP-JIJI

Luxembourg began clear-up operations on Saturday after a violent tornado ripped through the tiny state’s southwest, causing serious damage to dozens of homes and injuring 19 people.

The tornado hit towns close to the French and Belgian borders Friday, with winds of almost 130 kph (80 mph) ripping roofs off 60 houses, tearing down trees and blocking roads with debris.

Government Minister Dan Kersch told reporters Saturday that up to 100 houses were no longer habitable, while the country’s crisis unit said 19 people had been injured, two seriously.

In Bascharange, the town worst hit by the tornado, residents were left to clear up the ravages of the storm.

“I saw this thing spinning, it was moving forward and back towards the garden,” one woman said as she cleared up outside her house with a broom and a wheelbarrow.

The force of the winds broke shutters on her windows and blew her garden furniture three houses down the street.

As the sleepy town of 10,000 inhabitants echoed to the sounds of trucks and chainsaws clearing away debris, some locals took a philosophical view.

“There’s not much we can do, it’s nature,” said Fernand Laschette, who saw his neighbor’s roof tear off and land in his own garden.

“It lasted two or three minutes, no more. I just had time to finish closing the shutters,” the 50-year-old said.

Across the border in France, some properties in the Meurthe-et-Moselle department also suffered torn-off roofs and uprooted trees, but no injuries were reported.