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FRANCE

Thousands evacuated as heavy rain-storms hit south of France

A vehicle submerged in flood water on the streets of Aytre, in south-west France.
A vehicle submerged in flood water on the streets of Aytre, in south-west France. Reuters

More than 1,500 people have been evacuated on Sunday to escape the rapid rising water levels as heavy rain-storms hit the south of France and where a risk of flooding is extremely high.

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The Météo France weather service placed the Aude region and the Pyrénées Orientales region under red warning for flooding on Sunday, saying the rain-storms would last all day in both regions of the south of France.

There were considerable damages near the Berre river in the village of Portel-des-Corbières in the Aude region where the water rose by three meters-and-a-half in 15 minutes in the night of Saturday to Sunday.

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The muddy water swamped the river banks, submerging the vines and engulfing the neighbourhoods where cars were completely drowned, according to AFP.

In the nearby village of Sigean, water over flooded the six meter-high dam of Espinat . Around 250 inhabitants had been evacuated as a precaution and no one was harmed.

Several rivers have risen extremely rapidly in the past hours in both of these south-eastern regions. More than 300 firemen and 150 police officers have been requisitioned.

Four people died and two including an eight-year-old girl remained missing in southeastern France after violent storms on Thursday and Friday triggered flash flooding, uprooting trees and ripping off roofs.
 

The rain should stop in the evening in the Aude region and during the night in the Pyrénées Orientales region, according to Météo France.
 

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