Flooding hits French towns as water recedes elsewhere

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France Flooding; Europe

Floodwaters that devastated vineyards and orchards receded Saturday in southwest France but rose elsewhere, including in a French town where people were evacuated from their homes.

In the Paris region, the Seine overflowed its embankments for a fifth day. The Marne River to the east inundated several towns, including Lagny-Sur-Marne.

In the western town of Saintes, north of Bordeaux, the Charente river flooded dozens of streets and homes, and was expected to keep rising.

Mayor Bruno Drapron called on authorities to declare a natural disaster, an action that would facilitate aid and insurance payments.

The 95 inmates at Sainte’s 19th century prison were evacuated from the building on Friday as a preventative measure and placed in other facilities, officials said.

Scores of residents were evacuated from their homes and more than 2,000 could be if the water does not stop rising, according to information on the town hall’s website.

The local government requisitioned a hotel and opened a welcome centre in a historic abbey, according to regional radio station France Bleu.

Further south, waters receded after the worst flooding in 40 years swelled the Garonne river between Bordeaux and Toulouse. Vineyards and orchards turned into lakes, and rescue boats floated along small-town streets.

Prime minister Jean Castex visited the flood-battered town of Marmande in the region on Friday and promised “the solidarity of the state for all those who suffered”.

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