Deadly Floods Hit Southern France After Three Months’ Worth of Rain Falls in Hours
At least 13 people have died after flash flooding hit the Aude region of southern France, local officials said Monday.
Roads were cut off and cars overturned after three months’ worth of rain fell in six hours overnight Sunday into Monday, causing rivers to flood.
An elderly nun was killed after water swept through a nunnery in Villardonnel, while four people died overnight in nearby Villegailhenc.
Another person is missing and five are seriously injured, officials said, after they increased the death toll from seven following rescue operations.
Seven hundred firemen and seven helicopters have been mobilized in response to the flooding, which has reached unprecedented levels in the Aude valley, according to France’s flooding watchdog, Vigicrues.
The commune of Pezens has been evacuated and all schools in the department were closed on Monday. Local residents have been told to remain indoors. The Central Hospital of Carcassonne had to switch to its emergency generator after flooding hit its electrical system, Alain Guimant, the hospital’s communications director, told CNN.
“The water is receding now but access to the hospital is partly blocked because there is a lot of water on the road. We are telling patients due to come in to stay at home and those already in hospital to stay put,” he said.
French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe will visit Aude on Monday to assess the damage.
Rescue operations are also underway in several other departments. The river in the commune of Conques in Aveyron swelled by six meters, making it difficult for emergency services to access the area.
Storms also hit Portugal on Sunday, leaving thousands without power near the capital, Lisbon.