France floods: 1,600 tourists evacuated and one missing at campsites

A rescuer walks in front of a damaged caravan in southern France

A rescuer walks in front of a damaged caravan in southern France

The mayor of Bagnols, Jean-Yves Chapelet, told BFM-TV many Dutch tourists were among the 350 campers evacuated there.

Hundreds of rescuers backed by helicopters have evacuated around 1,600 people in three regions of southern France where heavy rain caused flash flooding and transformed rivers and streams into torrents.

"The level and speed of the river today was extraordinary - we woke up in about a foot of water", she told the BBC.

The missing man, a 70-year-old German citizen, was a monitor at one of the campsites who was feared to have been swept away by flood waters along with his van, BFM-TV reported.

However, Dousset, the top aide of the Gard administration, said no one knew for certain yet that the man was in his van at the time.

Four German children suffering from hypothermia were taken to hospital in Bagnols-sur-Ceze, around 65 miles from Montpellier.

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Many roads in the area were left cut off, with the authorities urged members of the public to be prepared for more disruption.

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.

The flooding comes after much of Europe, including the south of France, has had much hotter weather than usual.

Several parts of central and southeast France are on flood alert after weeks of blazing temperatures erupted in storms on Thursday, turning several campsites into mudbaths.

"There are still storms around, although they are starting to ease a little bit".

EDF France was even forced to shut down four nuclear reactors in the country because the rivers from which they draw water to cool them were becoming too hot.

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