Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Death toll doubles after intense flash-flooding in southwest France

The Trapel river burst its banks following heavy rains Image The Trapel river burst its banks following heavy rains
Sandra Phillips | 17 October, 2018, 13:28

At least 12 people have died in south-western France where some of the worst flash floods in a century have turned rivers into raging torrents, engulfing homes and sweeping away cars.

The town was also hit by tragedy in March when a jihadist went on a murderous rampage that included shooting dead two people at a supermarket in Trebes before being killed by police. Even as overnight rains that swept in from the Mediterranean began to ease Monday morning, the ministry said the toll could rise.

Ines Siguets said the waters in the village of Villegailhenc rose so quickly that people were stranded on the roofs of their homes and had to be helicoptered to safety.

The flash floods struck without warning. Eight people were injured throughout the affected region and one person was missing as of late Monday.

Local authorities said in a statement that more than 1,000 people in a village called Pezens were evacuated this morning because of risks posed by a dam located a few miles away.

This kind of weather is not unusual in the region: it happens several times a year and nearly always triggers flash flooding.

"There's water everywhere in the house". The high water moved with violent force, tearing bridges away from roadways and flooding homes, as seen in video and photos from the scene.

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Helicopters were scrambled to help rescue people from the roofs of their homes, but bad weather was making operations hard, the prefect of Aude, Alain Thirion, told BFM TV.

"We're going to have to use aircraft to evacuate them as we can't reach them by boat given the force of the water", Aude ideal Alain Thirion told the Evening Standard.

In the operation of evacuation of local residents and elimination of consequences of floods, attended by hundreds of rescue workers and firefighters; zadeystvovany helicopters.

Residents in the region have been told to remain indoors and more than 700 firemen and several helicopters have been sent to bolster the rescue effort.

The water level in the river Aude rose to 7 meters, what caused the flooding of several settlements in the area of Carcassonne.

The storms were triggered when a front of warm and humid air from the Mediterranean Sea slammed into colder air around the Massif central mountain range in central France, inundating an area from the eastern Pyrenees to Aveyron further north.

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