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Several people killed after fierce flooding in southern France

Eric Gaillard, REUTERS | A man walks on the beach in Nice as storms and heavy rain lashed through southern France, October 23, 2019.

Three people have died after several days of heavy storms that sent rivers flooding over their banks across southern France, causing "significant damage," the interior minister said Thursday.

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Rescue workers have carried out nearly 1,800 operations since Sunday, Christophe Castaner said in a statement, after eight departments in France were placed on high alert for flash floods.

He did not provide details on when or how the deaths occurred, but an interior ministry official said they were in the Herault, Gard and Pyrenees-Orientales departments.

Around 700 homes remain without power in Herault and Gard, and the flooding could halt train services across much of the area until at least November 4, the SNCF train operator said.

"This toll could have been higher," Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne said while inspecting the damage in Beziers, a city hit particularly hard.

Flooding also killed a man in northeastern Spain this week, and five people were missing, officials said Wednesday.

Flooding and landslides forced the closure of nearly 50 roads and halted train services in the region, as well as forcing the diversion of 37 flights, Spanish authorities said.

(AFP)

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