Flood-related deaths climb to 25 in southern France

10:32, June 18, 2010      

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People look at La Nartuby river at a bridge crossing in Trans en Provence, south eastern France, June 16, 2010 the morning after rising water from unusually heavy rains that hit the region caused a river to overflow. (Xinhua/Reuters, File Photo)

The death toll from the worst floods in two centuries in southern France rose to 25 and 13 more people were missing, the authorities said Friday.

Flash flooding triggered by torrential rains on Tuesday turned city streets into rivers that swept away cars, trees and houses and caused power outages in the Var region. A two-year-old was among the 25 people killed in the floods.

About 2,000 soldiers, firefighters and police officers were deployed to the flood zones. More than 2,000 homeless people have been evacuated to large halls that serve as temporary shelters, said Jacques Baudot, head of the regional firefighters.

The floods began to subside, but traffic services to severely-hit areas were still suspended, he added.

Daily life in the flood zones was being restored. But as many as 75,000 people were still without power by Thursday night.

Railway services in flood zones, including Toulon and Saint-Raphael, remained closed Friday morning, the state railway company said.

In a statement, President Nicolas Sarkozy has sent condolences to families of the flood victims and promised nonstop search and rescue for the missing. The president will visit the flood zones early next week, his office said.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon will host a meeting in the afternoon to assess the consequences of the floods.

It was the second time in four months that France was hit by major weather-related disasters. On Feb. 28, at least 53 people were killed when violent winter storm Xynthia swept through the country's Atlantic coast.

Source: Xinhua


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