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Published on Friday, August 10, 2018

French campsites evacuated after flash floods

Flash floods in the south of France have led to 1,600 people, many of them holidaymakers staying at campsites, being evacuated.

The worst-hit areas are Gard, Ardeche and Drome. More than 400 firefighters and police have joined the rescue, which has included the use of four helicopters.

The floods have been caused by storms following weeks of hot weather in Europe and there are warnings of more disruption.

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

Holidaymakers reported heavy rain destroying tents and quickly swamping ground where camper vans and holiday homes were parked.

Among those taken to safety are 120 children from a campsite at Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas in Gard. Four of the children were taken to hospital and treated for hypothermia.

A 70-year-old German man, who was supervising a group of youngsters at the site, was swept away by floodwaters, along with his van.

The UK Met Office said nearly three inches of rain fell over the area in just 24 hours. Forecaster Marco Petagna said parts of the Mediterranean could still see wet weather, with the Balearic islands and Sardinia at risk of heavy rain.

One woman, Rachel Buchanan, from Oxford, who was staying in the Ardeche said: "The level and speed of the river today was extraordinary - we woke up in about a foot of water.

"Driving in our camper van was very frightening as the road by the river was completely under water and waterfalls had appeared from nowhere crashing down the gorge," according to the Daily Express.

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