French rescuers evacuate 750 campers amid flash floods

A rescuer walks in front of a damaged caravan in southern France

Image A rescuer walks in front of a damaged caravan at a campsite in Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas

The flash flooding came about after a hot spell in France, and the Ceze and L'Ardeche rivers quickly burst their banks. Some people were concerned, but the campsite were good at reassuring us.

Almost 120 children were evacuated from the site as emergency teams helped around 750 people to safety across the Gard area.

Rachel Buchanan, from Oxford, was left with a "frightening" drive through floodwaters that had hit a site near a river in the neighbouring Ardeche region.

One person was reported missing.

Police said the caravan was later found "empty and in pieces" after being swept away by water that overflowed from the Ardeche River. Everything is being done to try and find him, with waterways being searched where possible.

'No one has suitcases. "We just have what we're wearing", Rita Mauersberger, a German who was among the campers taking shelter, told France Info radio.

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A French judge handed preliminary charges Saturday to two Germans whose group ran an unauthorized campsite in southern France that was inundated by flash floods, forcing the emergency evacuation of 119 children.

Four of the rescued German children were taken to the hospital suffering from hypothermia, officials said.

Helicopters were used to spot campsites and occasionally to perform rescues.

The weather in the southeast of France has improved this morning but authorities are urging people to stay vigilant as the flooding are receding. Some roads remain cut off and up to 17,000 homes are without power.

UK Met Office weather expert Marco Petagna said almost three inches of rain fell in the area in just 24 hours.

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