FRANCE

Deadly floods sweep southeastern France

Photo: Twitter user @S_Burgatt I Local emergency workers looked for a child reported missing in Le Gard after a car was swept away by floodwaters. The baby's body was recovered Saturday.
Photo: Twitter user @S_Burgatt I Local emergency workers looked for a child reported missing in Le Gard after a car was swept away by floodwaters. The baby's body was recovered Saturday.

Four people died in two separate accidents after their cars were swept away by floodwaters on Friday night in the southern French region of Le Gard, according to local authorities.

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A family lost control of their car on a flooded bridge just after midnight on Friday. The bodies of the mother and two young children aged one and four years were found early Saturday. The father of the family was rescued and is now in hospital, officials in the town near the French city of Nîmes said in a statement.

The tragic scenario was repeated on another bridge nearby and the 50-year-old driver lost his life when his car was swept away by rising waters.

Local authorities maintained that the circumstances that caused the accidents were “extremely localised”, adding that the situation in Le Gard remained safer than in neighbouring regions, which have been battered by days of heavy rainfall.

Four neighbouring departments were under serious “orange” flood alerts until late Saturday afternoon. An orange alert is the second-highest flood warning level. Le Gard, however, was only ever under a less-severe “yellow” warning, where residents are advised to stay alert and monitor the situation, especially if undertaking “activities sensitive to the weather risk or close to a river or waterway.”

Heavy rain in the region was expected to continue through mid-Saturday, according to Météo France, which has predicted between 40 to 80mm of rainfall for the Vaucluse and Bouches-du-Rhône regions.

Météo France has also predicted up to 140mm of rainfall for the Var and Alpes-Maritimes regions, which are already waterlogged after days of bad weather.

Moreover, the two seaside regions were placed under a yellow alert for large waves, which are expected to reach up to two metres on Saturday morning.

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