Helicopters help evacuate 1,600 campers after flooding in southern France

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

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

Hardest hit was the Gard region, where 119 children, many of them from Germany, were evacuated from their campsite at Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said in a statement.

Around 1,600 people, including many holidaymakers at campsites, have been evacuated in southern France after torrential rain caused flash flooding and transformed rivers and streams into raging torrents.

The TV channel reported that the missing person was a 70-year-old German man, a monitor at one campsite who was said to have been swept away inside his van.

Hundreds of people were evacuated as a precaution in the Gard, Ardeche and Drome regions.

The vehicle was found "empty and in pieces" near the river after the man was trapped by a muddy, fast-flowing torrent when the Ardeche river burst its banks.

However, 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.

'The situation is extremely perilous, ' said a spokesman for the emergency services in the town of Bagnols-sur-Ceze, north of Avignon, where the drama happened.

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

Around 120 gendarmes, 300 firemen and four helicopters carried out the rescue operation.

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

Hundreds of firefighters supported by four helicopters helped in the evacuation.

Several parts of central and southeast France are on flood alert after a blazing heatwave ended abruptly in storms on Thursday.

Numerous roads in the affected area remained cut off as night fell.

Around 19,000 homes are without power, Le Monde reported.

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