Concern grows in France as deadly flood waters rise

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Concern grows in France as deadly flood waters rise
The centre of Nemours under water. Photos: AFP

Floods continued to cause havoc in France on Thursday while authorities in Paris are growing increasingly concerned as the River Seine keeps on rising. More rain is on the way.


The floods in parts of northern France claimed another life on Wednesday when the body of an 86-year-old woman was found in her flooded house in central France.

Her death, which followed that of a toddler in her Burgundy home at the weekend, came as flood waters continued to rise after torrential rain in central and northern France.

Given that more rain is forecast for throughout Thursday the situation is expected to get even worse, not least in Paris where the River Seine continues to rise after breaking its banks earlier in the week.

The French Prime Minister and his Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve visited the town of Nemours  - 80 km to the south of Paris, on Thursday which was pretty much under water with the town centre having been completely evacuated.

"In 60 years of living here I have never seen this," Sylvette Gounaud, a shopworker in Nemours said. "The centre of town is totally under water, all the shops are destroyed."

There were similar scenes in the nearby town of Montargis where residents were without electricity. 

The government said firefighters had been called out over 10,000 times across the country in recent days and over 5,000 people have had to be evacuated from their homes since last Sunday.

On Thursday red alerts for flooding remained in place in two départements – the Loiret to the south of Paris and Seine-et-Marne to the south and the east.

Several other départements of central and eastern France remained on orange alert for similar reasons.They were Essonne, Indre-et-Loire, Cher, Loir-et-Cher, Indre, Meuse, Meurthe-et-Moselle and Moselle.

In Paris authorities are growing increasingly concerned by the rise of the river Seine, which had risen 4.3 metres higher than usual on Wednesday evening and is expected to top five metres in the coming days.



Parts of the right bank are closed to traffic and river traffic has been halted out of precaution. Bars and restaurants located on or next to the Seine on the left bank have been hurrying to get all their equipment and stock to a safe dry place.

Transport authorities have warned that if water levels rise more than 4.75 metres above normal levels then the RER C train line – parts of which pass along the banks of the River Seine, could be shut down within Paris.

Transilien line N which serves the capital had also succumbed to the flooding.

A crisis cell has been set up in the capital to keep an eye on the river and to prepare for any action if necessary.

Experts say Paris is still a long way from facing the catastrophe of the “flood of the century” – a repeat of the 1910 great flood.

South of Paris, in the town of Montargis, the deluge turned one street into a canal, forcing locals to don boots to wade through the floodwaters.

In France's Loire Valley, a large expanse of water pooled in front of the 16th century Chateau of Chambord, reflecting the much-visited Renaissance castle's image.

Roads remained blocked in many of the affected areas, particularly the Loiret where some 70 roads remained flooded. 
There was no sign of an end to the wet weather just yet with forecasters expecting more rain throughout Thursday.



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