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Death toll in French flooding hits 14

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An aerial view taken on October 15, 2018 shows flooded city of Trèbes, near Carcassone, southern France. – Thirteen people have died after severe storms caused flash flooding across wide stretches of southwest France overnight, sweeping away vehicles and swamping homes, the interior ministry’s rescue service said. (Photo by SYLVAIN THOMAS / AFP)

At least 14 people died and one remained missing after the storms and floods that battered southwest France earlier this week, local authorities said Wednesday, updating the toll.

The equivalent of three months rainfall was dumped overnight Sunday to Monday in the region of the fortress city of Carcassonne, bursting the banks of rivers, including the Aude, which reached levels not seen in 100 years.

The worst flooding took place in the medieval town of Trebes, where six people were killed by flash floods which overturned cars, gutted streets and swamped hundreds of homes, officials said.

Trebes had already made headlines in March when a jihadist went on the rampage, killing four people during a shooting spree and hostage-taking at a supermarket.

Five people were arrested after attempting to steal from a food truck abandoned near the town, authorities also said.

Water levels have since started falling along the Aude river and its tributaries, according to Vigicrues, the government agency responsible for monitoring flooding.

Some 700 firemen and civil defence personnel are involved in clean-up operations, and extra police and army personnel have been drafted to the area.

The storms were triggered when a front of warm and humid air from the Mediterranean Sea slammed into colder air around the Massif Central mountain range.


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