South of France sees worst floods in 50 years

Officials in the south of France Sunday are assessing the damage caused by violent storms over the weekend that swept away hundreds of vehicles, forced dozens to evacuate their homes and caused extensive damage, in the worst flooding in the region in 50 years.

Authorities briefly raised the alert level to “orange” on Saturday as floodwaters caused rivers to burst their banks in the Cote d’Azur area.

During a visit to Sainte Maxime, a tourist resort particularly hard-hit by the storms, French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux announced that an emergency fund of a million euros was being made available.

The Mayor of Sainte-Maxime described an ocean swell like “a tsunami” and said some 400 vehicles were swept away by the floods.

In the south western region, torrential rains lashed the Basque area disrupting transportation, particularly rail traffic.

Local officials in the town of Bayonne in the Basque area indicated that they would ask government authorities to declare the town a natural disaster zone.

Authorities in the Var region said around 180 people were currently unable to work as industrial and commercial buildings around Sainte Maxime have been damaged.


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