Hundreds flee as floods sweep through camp sites in southern France

One German tourist has been reported missing

Heavy rains in the southeast of France caused flash flooding and led to the evacuation of 1,600 people in the Ardèche, Gard and Drôme regions for precautionary measures yesterday.

The statement added that 119 children from a campsite in the town of Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas in southern France had been "sheltered" from the floods. One person was reported missing.

A 70-year-old German man who was helping to supervise children at a campsite was reported missing on Thursday after he was swept away in his caravan by floodwaters, police said.

After a hot spell, the flash flooding in the northern part of the Gard region turned the Ceze and L'Ardeche rivers into churning waterways that quickly spilled out of their banks. However, Mr. Dousset, the top aide of the Gard administration, said no one knew for certain yet that the man was in his van at the time. Nearby regions - all part of the verdant and mountainous Cevennes - also were hit with flooding.

A total of 1,600 people, majority campers, were rescued across Gard and the nearby Ardeche and Drome regions, according to France's interior ministry.

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About 750 people, mostly from campsites, were evacuated in the Gard region alone, local authorities announced last night.

Several people were taken to hospital with minor injuries, officials said.

Rescuers walk past a damaged tent in a flooded camp ground in Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas, southern France.

Nearly 75mm of rain fell over the area in just 24 hours with more outbreaks possible during the next few days.

Supported by four helicopters, more than 400 firefighters and paramilitary officers were mobilized for the rescue operation.

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