1,600 evacuated in France as floods ruin campsites

One person is missing and more than 750 campers have been evacuated with the help of helicopters after torrential rain caused flooding in southern France.

Five campsites in the Gard region were evacuated by hundreds of firefighters, many sent in from other areas, as the rainwater swelled rivers.

The missing person is a 70-year-old German man who is feared to have been swept away by floodwaters while inside his caravan, police said.

A rescuer walks in front of a damaged caravan in southern France
Image:A rescuer walks in front of a damaged caravan at a campsite in Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas

The man was supervising a group of around 100 German children, from the city of Leverkusen, who were evacuated from a campsite in Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas, 83 miles north east from Montpellier.

He was sheltering inside the caravan – said by police to have later been found “empty and in pieces” – after being trapped by muddy, fast-flowing water after the Ardeche river burst its banks.

Divers were reported to be taking part in the search for the man, although a top regional official said it was not known for certain whether the man was in his caravan at the time in was swept away.

Regional officials said four German children suffering from hypothermia were taken to hospital in Bagnols-sur-Ceze, around 65 miles from Montpellier.

They were among 10 people treated for minor injuries.

Officials also said 119 children in Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas were sent to an emergency shelter.

German teenagers evacuated from a flooded campsite in southern France
Image:German teenagers were taken to a rescue centre

The Bagnols mayor told BFM-TV many Dutch tourists were among the 350 campers evacuated there.

Helicopters were used to spot campsites and occasionally to perform rescues.

Several parts of central and southeast France are on flood alert after a blazing heatwave ended abruptly in storms.

Numerous roads in the affected area remained cut off as night fell. Around 17,000 homes in the southwest and northeast were without power.

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