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Deadly floods in France, Spain cause disruption

October 24,2019

Southern Europe experienced severe rainfall, causing rail tracks and cars to be swept away. Authorities in Spain are searching for two people believed to have been caught in the floodwater.

Torrential rain in southern France and northeast Spain left several people missing and one dead, as well as causing severe disruption and damage to infrastructure.

In the Montpellier region of France 1000 people were brought to safety, French authorities said on Wednesday. Some 500 people were rescued from one campsite. Emergency services also deployed a helicopter to airlift 38 people to safety.

France Bleu local radio reported that a 68-year-old woman was hospitalized after she was carried away by floodwater.

One dead, two missing in Spain

In Catalonia in northeast Spain, firefighters are searching for two people — reportedly a mother and son — whose home was swept away by rising floodwaters.

The incident happened in Vilaverd, a village some 30 kilometers (20 miles) from the port of Tarragona, on Spain's northeast coast.

The body of a man was found late on Tuesday in a beach in the town of Caldes d'Estrac, 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Barcelona, regional police disclosed on Twitter on Wednesday.

Rail and roads disrupted

Heavy rain and wind also caused disruption to infrastructure throughout southern France and Catalonia.

In France, the region closest to the Mediterranean was hardest hit with multiple roads blocked by flooding.

High-speed trains were cancelled between Barcelona and France after some of the track was washed away south of Montpellier.

Alternative routes were being explored, said a spokesperson for the French state-run train company SNCF.

In the city of Argeles-sur-Mer in the Pyrenees-Orientales department, flooding was strong enough to wedge a vehicle on top of a traffic bollard, and blocks of cement were carried along in the floodwaters.

In the city of Beziers rainfall reached 16.5 centimeters (6 inches) in 24 hours.

France's national weather authority said storms and heavy rains could continue through to Thursday.

In Catalonia, the severe rainfall caused power cuts affecting 25,000 people and closed 40 roads.


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