'I've been struggling for a year': Seine-et-Marne residents angered by drought-cracked houses

‘I’ve been struggling for a year’: Seine-et-Marne residents angered by drought-cracked houses

Many residents have seen cracks appear in their homes after the 2020 drought. But insurance companies that don’t recognize the state of a natural disaster are pulling files.

The first cracks appeared after the drought of 2020. In Lesigny, in Seine-et-Marne, about fifty people have been affected by these cracks that are ruining their homes, inside and out.

“We can see it’s cracking. And you have this catastrophic crack on the floor,” Sarah, a resident of the town, laments, showing a break running through her entire kitchen.

conflicting experiences

Sarah, like many residents of the region, saw her first cracks in 2020, after a major drought hit France. Since then, this local resident has struggled to get her insurance to cover the cost of the business.

Problem: The expert sent by the latter did not recognize the natural disaster, although counterexperience confirmed otherwise.

“It affects me morally, because it is not for sale, because I worked to own this house, and I realize it’s complicated. I’ve been fighting for a year, and I hope we win.”

However, a 2021 ministerial decree granted this status to the 32 municipalities of Seine-et-Marne for the summer of 2020, but not to Lésigny.

A few streets away, in Maïlys, the situation is the same. Conflicting opinions between the independent expert and the expert sent by the insurance company prevent the work, the amount of which may be high, from being considered.

“What I know about the expert,” Malles stated at BFM Paris-Île-de-France, “is that he has set aside €130,000 to bolster our house. Something that has yet to be accepted by the insurance.”

Soil shrinks with drought

With a new drought erupting since the beginning of the year, the residents of Lisine fear the situation will get worse. In the event that insurance companies refuse to compensate, the association “Forgotten Heatwaves” can help the victims.

“Insurance companies are criticized to some extent for trying to push soil studies into touch, because they fear that this soil study will lead them to recognize drought in the files,” explains link reference Helen Niktas. “In these cases, they know they will have to pay very large sums.”

He was invited to the BFMTV group, where architect and master-hazard expert Boris Williacho explained that drought is having an effect on the degradation of these dwellings.

“A large part of the houses are on the so-called clay soil. (…) the soil is very dry, because we have a very long period of drought. And clay is a substance that recedes when it dries up. And when it gets wet it expands. So there is the phenomenon of regression, stretching, contraction, stretching and so on Which will play on the foundations of the constructions and will lead to this phenomenon of cracking.”

“At the moment the clay has dried up to a very deep depth, which means that there is a very strong subsidence, so there is subsidence in some of the foundations.”

A new decree from the Ministry of the Interior was issued in July 2022 this time counting Lésigny among the municipalities in which the state of natural disasters due to landslides is recognized, but only for 2021.

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