Valais floods bring industry to a halt

Crippled rail and road links forced many Valais companies to close Keystone

Torrential rain and flooding in canton Valais over the weekend forced several companies to close their doors.

This content was published on October 16, 2000 - 17:22

Swiss aluminium firm, Algroup, and chemical company, Lonza, halted production at sites which were badly hit by storms. Floods made several areas impassable, and severed rail and road connections.

"The Lonza site in Visp has no water damage but we evacuated the factory out of precaution and production has been diminished since Friday," said Stephane Mischler, local factory head.

On Sunday, production at Lonza was suspended completely because of damage to gas supply lines. Mischler said Lonza expected to resume production in Visp on Tuesday.

The Algroup plant in Sierre also closed because of gas supply problems, while plants in Steg and Chippis stopped work due to flooding.

Management member, Jean-Christophe Deslarzes, said staff were working with 30 soldiers to restore the Steg and Chippis sites.

Ivo Menzinger of Swiss Re's flood research group told swissinfo that the total damage to the region was estimated at just under SFr1 billion.

Neither Algroup nor Lonza have released details of the financial damage to their operations.

swissinfo with agencies

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