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Rain floods southern France for third time in six months

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Severe floods have hit the French Southwest city of Saintes (Charente-Maritime) for the third time in just six months.


Severe floods have hit southwest France, the third time in just six months.

Charente-Maritime is now on orange alert, following Pas-de-Calais and Gironde.

In Saintes, the river Charente is once again overflowing its banks. It is impossible to move about in the streets without beams. This scenario is being repeated just three months after the last flood, which affected thousands of homes. 

It’s “unbelievable”, said one resident on Monday, who admitted that he was “fed up”. He goes to check on a neighbour who had fifty centimetres of water in her house at the beginning of December.

The flood should reach its peak on Friday, when the water level is expected to reach 5.85 metres. Up to 200 homes could be flooded.

The mayor of the commune is considering solutions for future floods.

“In this street, we’ll probably have to buy some houses and knock them down to make it easier for the water to drain away. Maybe, upstream, we’ll have to build some reservoirs, I don’t know… Obviously, we’ll have to build cofferdams (flood barriers), we’ll try to find effective cofferdam systems,” explained Bruno Drapron, the mayor of Saintes.

Extreme weather in Alpine region

Extreme weather has brought avalanches, storms, strong winds and landslides to Italy and France.

A 16-year-old boy died after being hit by an avalanche while skiing in southern Italy.

The avalanche risk in the area stands at level three, or “considerable”, on the European avalanche danger scale. The boy is the second person to be killed by an avalanche in the region in recent days.

More than 6,000 people living in three villages in the Gressoney area of the Aosta valley, the Alpine region near the French border, have been isolated since Sunday as a result of avalanches, which also blocked a tunnel.

Thunderstorms and winds of more than 100km/h triggered landslides in the Liguria region on Italy’s north-west coast.

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