France – 400 Evacuated as Floods Continue in South West

The flood situation continues in south-western France, with more evacuations reported as a result of overflowing rivers in Lot-et-Garonne and Charente-Maritime Departments. Flooding has affected wide areas of the country after heavy rainfall from late January.

In Lot-et-Garonne Department the Garonne river broke its banks flooding several areas of the department, in particular around Marmande and Agenais The departmental government reported on 05 February that emergency teams carried out 326 interventions including flood rescues and that 97 people had been evacuated. Over 30 roads were closed or blocked as a result of flooding or landslides.

On 04 February a red level warning was in place for flooding along the Garonne river in Lot-et-Garonne department. At Marmande the river reached its second highest recorded level of 10.20 metres late on 03 February, beating the previous second high of 8.72 metres set in January 2009. The highest recorded here is 11.39 metres set in June, 1875.

Levels of the Garonne at Marmande, France, February 2021. Image: Vigicrues

Prime Minister, Jean Castex, visited affected areas around Marmande on 05 February. He said the government will investigate requests to declare of a state of natural disaster. Such a declaration enables local authorities to access recovery funds and affected households to make insurance claims.

Meanwhile over 300 people have evacuated their homes in Charente-Maritime Department after the overflow of the Charente river from around 05 February. Charente-Maritime government said 22 communes were affected, 315 people had evacuated including 246 in Saintes. As of 07 February, emergency services had carried out 528 interventions.

The Charente river at Pont-Pallissy, Saintes, reached 6.18 metres on 08 February, which is its third highest level on record. The river reached 6.84 metres during the floods of December 1982.

Levels of the Charente at Saintes, Charente-Maritime Department, France, February 2021. Image: Vigicrues

Gerald Darmanin, Minister of the Interior, said that emergency teams including fire service and Civil Security personnel had carried out a total of 1,430 interventions in south western France in recent days.

Elsewhere in the country, the swollen Seine river in Paris is still flooding lower embankments. The river stood at 4.52 metres at Paris Austerlitz as of 08 February, and is predicted to remain well above 4 metres for the coming days. On 12 January levels here were just above 1 metre.

Levels of the Seine at Paris Austerlitz, February 2021. Image: Vigicrues

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