In France, ten die in floods unseen in more than a century

Lamar Ellis
October 15, 2018

Even as diluvial overnight rains that swept in from the Mediterranean began to ease Monday morning, France's Interior Ministry said the toll of seven deaths and five serious injuries could rise.

The rescue operations also appear to have postponed an expected announcement on a government reshuffle, prompted by the sudden resignation of interior minister Gerard Collomb almost two weeks ago. At least one victim was swept away by raging waters while sleeping, Thirion said. Local residents have been told to remain indoors. "It carried away her furniture which ended up on the veranda", said Sister Irene, the mother superior.

Authorities said four deaths were clustered around the town of Villegailhenc in the Aude region, where a powerful, roiling surge of muddy water and debris ripped out a bridge.

The nun's body was later found under trees outside the convent.

A firefighter helps a youngster in a flooded street during rescue operation following heavy rains that saw rivers bursting banks on 15 October 2018 in Trebes, near Carcassone, southern France.

The Aude department, home to the medieval fort city of Carcassonne, sustained seven months of its average rainfall in one night in the worst floods in the area since 1891. "The village is more or less cut off from the outside world", said Jean-Jacques Garros, a resident of Villegailhenc, one of the hardest hit areas. 'She thought she was safe behind locked doors and windows, but the water burst in'. "I am keeping myself informed of the situation hour by hour". Two people were killed in the town, according to the Aude regional government.

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Around 1,000 people have been evacuated from Pezens.

Six other departments were also hit by the storms from the eastern Pyrenees to Aveyron further north.

This well-known weather pattern occurs 3 to 6 times a year in the region and almost always triggers flash flooding.

An unrelated storm on Sunday also hit Portugal, leaving 28 people with minor injuries and hundreds of thousands without power amid flooding in the region around the capital Lisbon.

The rain that triggered the flooding was partially associated with the remnants of Hurricane Leslie.

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