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06/12/2016

Deaths reported as flash floods hit France, Germany and Austria

Climate & Environment

Deaths reported as flash floods hit France, Germany and Austria

French firefighters on small boats evacuate residents from a flooded area after heavy rainfall in Nemours. France, 1 June. [Reuters]

At least four people have been killed in flash floods caused by heavy rain lashing France, Germany and Austria.

The flooding cut roads, stranded people on rooftops and forced schools to close their doors. Weather forecasters have warned of more rain and rising waters ahead.

Three people who had been trapped in a house at Simbach am Inn in southern Germany were found dead, local authorities said, and police warned several other people could be on the ground floor of the building.

The body of an 86-year-old woman was found in her flooded house in Souppes-sur-Loing in central France, parts of which have been hit by the worst flooding in more than 100 years.

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In France’s Loire Valley, water pooled in front of the Chateau de Chambord, a 16th century Renaissance castle.

In one incident in southern Bavaria emergency services rescued 20 members of a school group when a boat trip on the Regen river ran into trouble with strong currents sparked by a sudden storm, authorities said.

South of Paris, in the town of Montargis, the deluge turned one street into a canal, forcing locals to don boots to wade through the floodwaters.

In southern Germany, the rains left trucks jackknifed on flooded roads at Simbach am Inn.

Four people had died and a dozen were injured in the southern Baden-Wuerttemberg region between Sunday and Monday, authorities said.

On Bavaria’s south-eastern border with Austria, firefighters and other emergency services were dispatched to stricken towns where roads and bridges were cut and some residents had to seek refuge from the waters on rooftops.

“The floods came so quickly that people had to escape to the roofs of their houses,” a spokesman for the Lower Bavaria regional police said, adding that many streets were submerged.

In the town of Triftern around 50 children and 25 adults bunked down in their school on Wednesday (1 June) after being cut off by the waters.

Over the border in Austria heavy rain lashed the Salzburg region, flooding several roads and forcing several schools to announce closures for Thursday (2 June).

In Paris many promenades along the Seine were closed due to the high waters, which the mayor’s office predicted could rise by another metre in the coming days.

Fire services had attended 10,000 call-outs across the country since the rain began on Sunday, according to authorities.

Schools were closed and thousands of people were evacuated in central regions because of the flooding, which weather forecaster Meteo France described as “exceptional, worse than the floods of 1910”.

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The prime minister, Manuel Valls, was expected on Thursday visit Nemours, 50 miles to the south of Paris, where residents had to be evacuated after the Loing river burst its banks.

“In 60 years of living here I have never seen this,” said Sylvette Gounaud, a shopworker in Nemours. “The centre of town is totally under water, all the shops are destroyed.”

The neighbouring Loiret region, home to the Chateau de Chambord, received its average six-week rainfall in just three days.

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