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6 Found Dead After Heavy Rain



At least six people have died in flooding after heavy rain in the southern French department of Aude, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Monday.

Flooding reached up to 7 metres high in the town of Trebes, local authorities wrote on Twitter.

All schools in the department were closed, and residents were warned to stay at home, the Aude prefecture said.

The villages of Cuxac d’Aude and Pezens, with a population of more than 5,000 people, were evacuated.

Later Monday morning, the prefecture warned riverside residents in the town of Carcassone to take refuge in the upper storeys of their houses.

Pedestrians and lorries were banned from crossing the town’s bridges and motorists were advised to do so with caution.

Philippe said that 350 firefighters were at work and 350 more were on the way.

Seven civil rescue and military helicopters had also been mobilized but were unable to take off until the morning due to weather conditions, he added.

Sudden episodes of heavy rainfall are a recurring phenomenon along France’s Mediterranean coast, especially in the autumn when warm air laden with moisture moves off the sea towards mountainous inland areas.

However, the current episode of flooding is much more severe than the average for this time of year, according to the national flood warning service Vigicrue.