The French earthquake center (BCSF) registered the first tremor on Friday evening at 6:38 p.m., its epicenter was therefore in the commune of Cram-Chaban in the Charente-Maritime department. In several places from the east of the department to the south of the neighboring department, roofs partially collapsed, walls shifted and cracks appeared on many facades.
In the village of La Laigne alone, around 170 people had to leave their homes. According to the authorities, two people were slightly injured.
According to Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, the assessment of the damaged houses continued on Saturday. Borne pledged her support to all those affected. She will ensure that all whose houses are uninhabitable receive new accommodation.
The Prime Minister announced that Environment Minister Christophe Béchu would visit the earthquake region on Monday. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin promised on Twitter an accelerated procedure to recognize the quake as a natural disaster and thus be able to provide aid quickly.
Earthquakes with a magnitude greater than 5 are extremely rare in France. According to the seismologist Jérôme Vergne, they usually only occur once every ten years.
The tremors caused an uproar across the western part of the country. Numerous calls came in to the emergency numbers, and countless users of online media vented their worries.
The student Lea Franke reported in Tours, for example, that she was lying on the bed reading when she heard the shaking. "I jumped up, the whole apartment shook." The tremors lasted several seconds. "I was terrified. I live on the third floor. I thought the floor was about to collapse."