Published: Sun, August 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

British camper describes 'raging river' as floods hit southern France

British camper describes 'raging river' as floods hit southern France

In one summer camp in Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas, 119 children were evacuated.

About 750 people, mostly from campsites, were evacuated in the Gard region alone, local authorities announced last night.

Torrential rains Wednesday caused the heavy flooding in the Gard region.

According to the interior ministry, a total of 1,600 people, a lot of them campers, were evacuated as a precaution in the Gard and the nearby Ardeche and Drome regions.

They said a 70-year-old German man who was helping to supervise children at one of the summer camps was missing.

The Ardeche, Gard and Drôme regions have been hardest hit so far.

Trapped by a fast-flowing torrent, he sought shelter inside his caravan - but the vehicle was swept away, the AFP news agency reports.

A smashed caravan after hitting a tree
A smashed caravan after hitting a tree

Divers were reported to be taking part in the search for the man, although a top regional official said it was not known for certain whether the man was in his caravan at the time it was swept away.

Ten people were taken to hospital suffering from hypothermia and minor injuries, said regional police spokesman Jerome Tallaron. The mayor of Bagnols, Jean-Yves Chapelet, told BFMTV that a large number of Dutch tourists were among the 350 campers evacuated.

More than 400 firefighters and gendarmes, many sent in from other regions, helped in the evacuations, using helicopters to spot campsites and occasionally to perform rescues.

According to UK Met Office nearly three inches of rain fell over south-east France in 24 hours.

Residents in the area were urged to monitor the weather and give flood waters time to recede.

Around 17,000 homes in the southwest and northeast were without power.

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