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Four die in severe storms

Violent storms sweeping south leave four people dead and two missing

FOUR people have died during violent storms that have battered the Hérault, Gard and Aveyron departments.

Three people died after being swept away by rising waters on a camp site in Lamalou-les-Bains in Hérault, and two others are still missing. Another 154 other people were taken to safety and sheltered in a municipal hall in Bédarieux and another in Lamalou-les-Bains. Fifty rescue divers are currently working at the scene.

Meanwhile, a 76-year-old woman drowned on Wednesday afternoon after she fell from a bridge into the river Dourdou, in Arnac in the south-east of Aveyron, and another person is reported to have disappeared after falling from a footbridge in Saint Laurent le Minier, Gard.

During the storms last night, 600 firemen were mobilised in Gard, including 268 who were on the ground and 180 brought from outside the area. There were 10 rescues and 240 call-outs. At one stage during the storms, more than 6,500 households in Gard were without electricity.

More than 70 people had to be sheltered overnight in a town hall after being trapped in their cars in the commune of Ganges, in Hérault, and several major roads are still blocked.

Schools remain open in Hérault but children will go home at lunchtime today as the rains are expected to intensify during the afternoon.

Météo France has downgraded the storm alert in some areas including Gard but has maintained an orange status in Hérault, where storms are expected to continue this afternoon. The government has specifically issued an orange ‘vigicrue’ flood-risk warning on the rivers of Orb, Lez and Hérault.

Flights out of Montpellier airports are operating as normal.

To find out more, visit the government’s flood warning website : Vigicrues

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