French rescuers evacuate 750 campers amid flash floods

10 August, 2018, 15:21 | Author: Wade Massey
  • A rescuer walks in front of a damaged caravan in southern France

Hundreds of rescuers backed by helicopters moved out about 1,600 people, majority campers, in three regions of southern France where heavy rain caused flash flooding and transformed rivers and streams into torrents, the interior minister said Thursday.

The statement added that 119 children from a campsite in the town of Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas in southern France had been "sheltered" from the floods.

Of the 750 people helped to safety by emergency crew in Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas region of Gard, around 120 of them were children, mainly from Germany.

A 70-year-old German man was said to be missing after reportedly being swept away inside his van at one campsite.

He was sheltering inside the caravan - said by police to have later been found "empty and in pieces" - after being trapped by muddy, fast-flowing water after the Ardeche river burst its banks. Divers and a helicopter have been deployed to search for the missing man, Souliman said. A group of 136 children and youths from the German city of Leverkusen were reported safe.

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Ten people, including four German children, have been taken to hospital with hypothermia and minor injuries, according to regional police spokesman Jérôme Tallaron.

"No one has suitcases".

UK Met Office weather expert Marco Petagna said almost three inches of rain fell in the area in just 24 hours.

Supported by four helicopters, more than 400 firefighters and paramilitary officers were mobilized for the rescue operation.

Pictures showed rescuers wading through flooded campsites with damage to tents, caravans and bicycles. Around 17,000 homes in the southwest and northeast were without power.

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