France floods: 1600 evacuated, German missing at campsite

France floods: 1600 evacuated, German missing at campsite

After weeks of dry and hot conditions, recent torrential downpours quickly swelled the Ceze and L'Ardeche rivers in the Gard region.

"We woke up in about a foot of water".

Rescue workers continued Friday to search for the missing man, who has not yet been identified.

Top Gard official Thierry Dousset told BFM-TV that about 750 people were evacuated from five campsites. A group of 136 children and youths from the German city of Leverkusen were reported safe.

A fellow camper told France's BFMTV channel that as the river surged through the site, he could hear children's cries in the trees.

The local Gard government also said four German children were hospitalised for hypothermia in Bagnols-sur-Ceze.

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More than 400 firefighters and police officers, many from other regions, helped with the evacuations, using helicopters to spot campsites and rescue people.

Tents have been destroyed and roads overwhelmed with water after nearly three inches of rain fell in under 24 hours, causing rivers to overflow at a rapid rate.

Authorities warned that the flooding would take time to recede and urged people to be vigilant. A sizzling heatwave across Spain has left 10 people dead in a week.

Hardest hit was the Gard region, where 119 children, many of them from Germany, were evacuated from their campsite at Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said in a statement.

The French weather service has issued orange and yellow alerts for parts of southeast France that will remain in place until 4pm.

About 17,000 homes in southwest and northeast France were without power and several roads were closed as a result of the floods.

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