At least thirty people are dead or missing following torrential rainstorms in southwest france. Police?
At least thirty people are dead or missing following torrential rainstorms in southwest france. Police described the floods that followed as the worst for 80 years. Damage to crops and property int eh wine district around the town of Auch could run into millions of francs.
SYNOPSIS: The storms broke out during Friday (8 July) night and by Saturday (9 July) morning the floodwaters were 25 feet (about 7 metres) deep in places. people were swept away when a river burst its banks and one farmer died of a heart attack while he was inspecting damage to his crops.
Many roads were cut and in Auch itself five people died when bridges collapsed in the town centre. Helicopters were flying food and medical supplies to marooned areas.
As the floods began to recede battered cars were revealed. In one area police found a car which had been abandoned. They said they had no idea whether the occupants had escaped safely.
Many tourists were on holiday in the area and five people, including three children, drowned at one camp site.
The waters rose so rapidly that few had enough time to escape. Some people woke up in the night to find themselves already trapped, the ground floors of their houses inundated.
Firemen saved one woman who was standing on a chair on top of a table holding two children in her arms as the waters rose around them. Another woman who'd been clinging to a tree lost her grip and was wept away when rescuers were only 16 feet (about five metres) from her. Police said it would be some time before they could say exactly how many people had died.