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Mudslide survivors prepare for return to Gondo

Asella Leiggener equips the kitchen of Gondo's Restaurant Bellevue ahead of the return of the village's inhabitants

(Keystone)

A month after a deadly mudslide ploughed through the village of Gondo, in canton Valais, its residents are set to return to their evacuated homes.

Thirteen people were killed and many homes destroyed during a weekend of torrential rains. In the aftermath of the disaster, the authorities moved Gondo's 152 residents to neighbouring Simplon and Brig, fearing for their safety.

The village - which is situated near the border with Italy - still lies in a flood-risk zone. However, the authorities charged with overseeing safety in the wake of the mudslide, have pronounced it safe for people to return home from Thursday.

The main road had been re-opened, rebuilding is underway, and power and water are being reconnected. Shortly before the homecoming, eateries - like the Restaurant Bellevue - and shops were busy preparing for a return to business.

In a symbolic move, the community's administration went back to Gondo on Wednesday, after four weeks' exile in Simplon.

The mayor of Gondo, Roland Squaratti, who lost several family members himself in the mudslide, told swissinfo: "I'm happy to return. My house lies between two mountains, four kilometres from Gondo, and for the last month I was not able to go back home because my work place had shifted to Simplon."

swissinfo


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