France floods in pictures: Holidaymakers EVACUATED following deluge

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He was sheltering inside the caravan - said by police to have later been found "empty and in pieces" - after being trapped by muddy, fast-flowing water after the Ardeche river burst its banks.

The Gard government said four German children were taken to hospital on Thursday suffering from hypothermia in Bagnols-sur-Cèze.

The children removed from the camp were among 1,600 evacuated, mostly preventatively, in three regions by Thursday evening after torrential rains quickly transformed rivers and streams into torrents. Five campsites in the area have been evacuated'.

He added: 'Helicopters are being used in the relief operations, with valleys particularly badly hit'.

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'No one has suitcases.

Helicopters were used to spot campsites and occasionally to perform rescues.

According to UK Met Office nearly three inches of rain fell over south-east France in 24 hours.

It's been advised that locals give time for flood waters to recede, and keep an eye on local weather reports before they travel.

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A spokesman for the Gard Prefectures said: 'It is hoped that the flooding will reach its peak by around 11pm on Thursday'.

Hardest hit was the Gard region, where 119 children, many of them from Germany, were evacuated from their campsite at Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said in a statement.

The French weather service has issued orange and yellow alerts for parts of south-east France which will remain in place until 4pm on Friday.

Heavy rain meant tents were destroyed, while about 17,000 homes were without power.

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Electricity supplies have been cut in some villages, while roads have been gridlocked because of the number of people trying to get to high ground.

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