Thirteen people have been killed, nine of them coming from just one town, after flash floods hit the towns in southwest of France. The floods turned the waterways into very powerful torrents, which have brought down towns and left millions of people displaced. Those people who were lucky were airlifted to safety from the rooftops of their homes, while the storm, which raged on throughout the night, tore through the towns. The results were so much water, equivalent to several months of rain, in just a few hours.
Among the worst hit town in France is Trebes, located east of the medieval walled city of Carcassonne. The powerful storm, which is believed to have emanated from the Mediterranean, killed nine people on the spot according to the Interior Ministry spokesman, Frederic de Lanouvelle. While speaking to BFMTV about the matter, Lanouvelle said that the floods in Aude region have also killed four other people in different areas, leaving one person missing and many other people missing.
A witness from the town of Villegailhenc said that the rising of water in the town happened so fast. People got stranded and had to wait at the rooftops of their houses to be rescued by a helicopter to safety. Recue by boats was not possible as it was very risky.
Heavy rains are still being experienced in many parts of France at the moment. The rain is expected to last at least for the rest of the week. Many people are however hoping that the worst part of the storm is gone and that here will be no more incidences in the days to come.
Weather monitoring service Vigicrues says that the floods, which happened on Monday night, are the worst to have hit Aude River in more than 100 years. So far, seven helicopters and 700 emergency service workers have been deployed in the affected area to help with the rescue mission, said Édouard Philippe, France Prime Minister, when he visited the area.
Chris Bockman of BBC says that heavy rains have always been experienced this time of the year. He however says that the flash floods could have been caused by the many homes that have been built on flood plains.