Flash flood submerges southern French villages, fields

September 15, 2021

PARIS — Emergency workers rescued or evacuated hundreds of people in southern France as flash flooding abruptly turned roads and fields into rivers and lakes, the Associated Press reported.

As new heavy rainfall threatened the area Wednesday, the emergency service for the Gard region said rescuers were searching for at least one person reported missing after the Tuesday evening flood.

No casualties have been reported, but local authorities said the rains caused significant damage to homes and infrastructure across towns and villages between Nimes and Montpellier.

About 800 firefighters were mobilized to rescue people via helicopter and other means. Schools across the region were closed Wednesday as cleanup work started in some towns.

The south of the country is again on the receiving end of some brutal weather, with social media videos showing flooded streets and torrential rain.

Southern France has again been hit with heavy rain, thunderstorms and flooding after a similar deluge just days ago. The equivalent of two months' rain is said to have fallen in two hours in one area of Gard.

Videos on social media showed torrential downpours in the city of Nimes and flooded streets in Calvisson. People were also pictured sitting on a roof in the Gallargues commune of Gard.

Twenty-three people had been rescued from their vehicles by firefighters by midday on Tuesday, according to a report by local media outlet La Provence.

A white water rescue team was also deployed towards Nimes and three helicopters were on standby near the city. There was also disruption on the A9 motorway and other major roads.

However, an earlier red weather alert for the Gard was eventually lifted and was replaced with an orange alert for thunder, rain and flooding — which remains in place.

It comes after similar weather in southwest France last week. France-based news agency AFP reported last Thursday that the equivalent of two months of rain had fallen in three hours in Agen in Lot-et-Garonne.

More than two meters of water was reported in some of Agen's streets and more than 300 firefighters were deployed. However no deaths or injuries were immediately reported. — Agencies

September 15, 2021
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