The morning of the flood
In the Sanctuary of Lourdes, before sunrise on Wednesday 13th June 2018, the Gave River had reached the designated limit at a height of 2.50 metres. To cope with the ongoing flooding of the Grotto, from 3am, security personnel and technical staff from the Sanctuary had deployed on site. Primary objective: to protect the Grotto while ensuring the safe-guarding of the spring, with the establishment of the anti-flood system, consisting of water filled rods placed on top of each other to the desired height. A moving picture: transferring the Crucifix from the Grotto to the Rosary Basilica.
The height of the flood at 12:55
The Gave River continued to overflow into the Sanctuary. The peak of flood was recorded at 12:55, at a height of 2.91m. Then the water level started to go down.
Reopening of the Grotto the next day at 8:45 pm
Sanctuary staff and volunteers set to work cleaning the site. Thanks to their combined efforts, the grotto was able to reopen on the evening of 14th June at 8:45 pm. In an unusual turn of events, the torchlight Marian Procession left from the Grotto to mark the event and give to thanks for the positive outcome: there was no damage. At the Grotto, the Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, Mgr Nicolas Brouwet, thanked the benefactors and donors who, through their generosity, ensured that the Sanctuary could be equipped with flood defences that could be deployed effectively. He also thanked the employees and volunteers who had been active over the past 48 hours, and he finished by thanking the pilgrims for their great patience.