Holidaymakers evacuated as floods hit southern France

Leroy Wright
August 10, 2018

A total of 1,600 people, a lot of them campers, were rescued across Gard and the nearby Ardeche and Drome regions, according to France's interior ministry.

A 70-year-old German man who was helping supervise children at one of the camps went missing on Thursday, thought to have been swept by the strong currents of flood water.

About 750 people in all were evacuated in Gard, mainly from campsites, a top district official, Thierry Dousset, told France's BFM-TV news channel.

Rescuers believe the man sought shelter in his camper when fast-flowing water burst the banks of the nearby L'Ardeche River, but the vehicle was swept away.

Four German children were hospitalized for hypothermia in Bagnols-sur-Ceze, a town on the Ceze River, Dousset said.

According to the interior ministry, a total of 1,600 people, a lot of them campers, were evacuated as a precaution in Gard and the nearby Ardeche and Drome regions. The mayor of Bagnols, Jean-Yves Chapelet, told BFMTV that a large number of Dutch tourists were among the 350 campers evacuated.

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He added: 'Helicopters are being used in the relief operations, with valleys particularly badly hit'.

Hundreds of firefighters, many sent in from other regions, helped in the evacuations, using helicopters to spot camp sites and occasionally to perform rescues.

Several parts of central and southeast France are on flood alert after weeks of blazing temperatures erupted in storms on Thursday, turning several campsites into mudbaths.

Locals are being urged to keep a close eye on weather conditions.

Heavy rain meant tents were destroyed, while about 17,000 homes were without power.

Numerous roads in the affected area remained cut off as night fell.

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