1600 people evacuated due to flash floods in the south of France


In southeastern France, 1,600 people were evacuated because of a "violent" storm, according to a government statement Thursday.

Some 119 children, many of them from Germany, were evacuated from the Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas campsite in Gard.

"The level and speed of the river today was extraordinary - we woke up in about a foot of water", Rachel Buchanan said.

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.

French authorities are still looking for a 67-year-old man, reportedly a German citizen serving as the campsite's monitor, who was reported missing and feared swept away with his camping vehicle. Divers and a helicopter have been deployed to search for the missing man, Souliman said. All in the group, who are from the city of Leverkusen, are all accounted for and safe.

The Gard administration also said four German children were hospitalized on Thursday for hypothermia in Bagnols-sur-Ceze, a town on the Ceze River.

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

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British campers are among those recovering in emergency shelters after they were rescued from holiday parks and campsites wrecked by the bad weather.

"No one has suitcases".

Authorities warned that the flooding would take time to recede and urged people to be vigilant.

A rescuers stands next to a damaged tent in a flooded campsite as storms and heavy rains sweep across France.

Several parts of central and southeast France are on flood alert after a blazing heatwave ended abruptly in storms on Thursday.

According to UK Met Office nearly three inches of rain fell over south-east France in 24 hours. Some roads remain cut off and up to 17,000 homes are without power.