Flash Floods Hit France
South Eastern France was hit by some deadly flash floods on Tuesday, caused by torrential rain fall over the mountainous area, just North of the Cote D’Azur region. At the last count, there were 20 deaths confirmed, 12 people missing, and fears that the death toll will rise even further. Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux has voiced these worries today.
Around 2000 rescue workers have already been brought in, attempting to find any more survivors who are trapped in the debris of their ruined homes. Hundreds of buildings were completely flooded, including several towns in the department of Var. The damage is severe and widespread, devastating many French citizens. One of the worst hit areas was the town of Draguignan, where several of the fatalities were caused due to people becoming trapped in their vehicles when the floods hit. With rescue operations still under way, helicopters are being used to lift survivors to safety; some have climbed to the roofs of their houses to escape the water.
Of course, our French escorts are very worried about this natural disaster; even if their friends and family are not from the affected area, it’s always sad to hear about such catastrophic events in your native land. Although more storms were forecast yesterday by the national weather service in France, we’re all hoping that there will be no more casualties.
According to meteorologists, this is the worst flood in the area since 1827, with 40cm of rain having fallen so far. In some parts, the water was as high as 6ft – enough to drown a tall man standing. This amount of rain is unusual in France, especially in the month of June when the weather is usually fine.
When the torrential rain started, chaos broke out in the region. Children were trapped on their school buses as roads became cut off, some 175,000 houses lost power and everywhere became littered with rocks and debris. Thousands of people were forced to leave their own homes and find temporary accommodation in shelters set up by rescue teams, and there was also an incident where hundreds of prisoners had to be moved due to the jail flooding.
The floods also affected flights and train services; passengers travelling Nice and Lille were trapped for some time. The railway line running from Toulon and Frejus was closed until today, but now that the worst is over the region can hopefully start to rebuild their lives.