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Storms in France leave thousands without power

AFP

Around 100,000 homes in France were still without power on Saturday afternoon after violent storms swept through the country on Friday night. Two people have been reported seriously injured.

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Violent storms swept through large parts of north and southwest France on Friday night and Saturday morning, leaving thousands of homes without electricity and causing at least two severe injuries.

As of midday Saturday, around 100,000 homes were still without power, with ERDF, the agency responsible for maintaining the electricity network, dispatching some 1,000 technicians to help restore power as quickly as possible.

"The goal is to do everything possible to restore the maximum number of customers with power by tomorrow night," an ERDF spokesman told the AFP news agency.

He noted that there was "a lot of damage everywhere” but particularly in the Poitou-Charentes and Aquitaine regions of southwest France, where 53,000 and 28,000 homes were without power respectively.

A 70-year-old woman in the Aquitaine town of Gironde was seriously injured after a church bell tower collapsed onto her house, according to French media reports.

Firefighters took more than four hours to free the woman from the rubble.

In the city of Nantes, meanwhile, a postman was taken to hospital in a serious condition after being struck by lightning, having taken shelter from the storm underneath a tree.

The violent weather also caused disruption to the country’s rail network, with falling trees causing severe delays on the high-speed TGV service between Paris and Bordeaux.

More bad weather is set to come, with the country’s national meteorological service issuing storm alerts for 28 departments for Saturday afternoon and evening, with hail, heavy rainfall and winds of up to 120 km/h expected in some parts of the country.

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