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Floodwaters recede in eastern France

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AFP/The Local France - [email protected]
Floodwaters recede in eastern France
A photograph shows the German Nied river in Crehange, northeastern France, on May 18, 2024. Water levels were receding on Sunday after heavy rainfall had caused flooding. (Photo by Jean-Christophe VERHAEGEN / AFP)

The municipalities affected by floods in eastern France on Saturday are seeing a gradual return to normality on Sunday, although forecaster Météo-France has kept an orange alert in place for Moselle and Bas-Rhin.

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“The floodwaters are receding well, we are in the process of removing all protective equipment,” said Bruno Minutiello, president of the municipalities community covering Lunéville to Baccarat (Meurthe-et-Moselle), without mentioning any significant incident.

On Saturday, this area was placed on red alert, France's highest weather warning level, because of flooding on the Vezouze river, which burst its banks. It rose to 2.90 metres from 0.60 metres on Thursday. 

However, it fell short of reaching the level recorded during the 2006 floods, as had been feared. The river is now back on yellow alert.

“The night was quiet, no homes were flooded,” said the mayor of Lunéville, Catherine Paillard.

READ ALSO: What do France’s weather warnings actually mean?

In Moselle, the Nied river is also receding and has been downgraded to an orange alert on Sunday, from red on Saturday.

“The main street is clear, the waters have receded, all homes are accessible, whereas yesterday people had 1.50 metres of water in their houses,” said René Kupperschmit, mayor of Filstroff (Moselle), adding that the local kayak club had delivered food to some families.  

“The waters dropped back with incredible speed. Today people are cleaning up, I think that the prefect will issue a natural disaster order for the entire sector,” he added.

But further upstream, in Ancerville (Moselle), water levels were still high with the Nied reaching 2.64 metres on Sunday morning, compared to 0.65 metres on Thursday.

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“There are still about 30 centimetres of water covering the two main roads making travel very difficult. But houses are not flooded, it's mainly affecting travel,” said mayor Patrick Angelaud.

In the areas of Sarreguemines and Bouzonville (Moselle), there were still some difficulties on Sunday, after the Saar river flooded. It reached its peak of 6.40 metres in the morning, up from 2.60 metres on Thursday.

“Around 180 homes remain without electricity,” the prefecture said in a press release, noting that agents for power grid operator Enedis had been deployed to remedy the situation.

Firefighters carried out “84 interventions” in the morning, “mainly for pumping and reconnaissance”.

In the Lower Rhine area, "generally speaking, waters are starting to recede on the majority of waterways, even if some areas are still under surveillance", the press release continued.

Around 20 roads in the department remain inaccessible, but “the situation is gradually returning to normal”.

A yellow alert for thunderstorms has been issued for 76 departments on Sunday, including those in the Grand Est region of northeastern France, amid fears of further rain.

 

 

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