1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Floods cause disruption in France, Spain

October 24, 2019

Southern Europe experienced severe rainfall, causing rail tracks and cars to be swept away. Authorities in Spain are searching for two people believed to have been caught in the floodwater.

Frankreich Überschwemmungen
Image: AFP/E. Cabanis

Torrential rain in southern France and northeast Spain left several people missing and one dead, as well as causing severe disruption and damage to infrastructure.

In the Montpellier region of France 1000 people were brought to safety, French authorities said on Wednesday. Some 500 people were rescued from one campsite. Emergency services also deployed a helicopter to airlift 38 people to safety.

A car is swept on top of a tree and another car in Spain
Spain experienced its second deadly rainfall in just two monthsImage: Reuters/B. Miret

France Bleu local radio reported that a 68-year-old woman was hospitalized after she was carried away by floodwater. 

Read more: Hotter, higher seas to worsen extreme floods without 'urgent and ambitious' action, United Nations warns

One dead, two missing in Spain

In Catalonia in northeast Spain, firefighters are searching for two people — reportedly a mother and son — whose home was swept away by rising floodwaters.

The incident happened in Vilaverd, a village some 30 kilometers (20 miles) from the port of Tarragona, on Spain's northeast coast.

A car swept into a hole in the road in Spain
Road and wait traffic was disrupted in Spain and FranceImage: Reuters/B. Miret

The body of a man was found late on Tuesday on a beach in the town of Caldes d'Estrac, 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Barcelona, regional police disclosed on Twitter on Wednesday.

Read more: Defending against floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Rail and roads disrupted

Heavy rain and wind also caused disruption to infrastructure throughout southern France and Catalonia.

In France, the region closest to the Mediterranean was hardest hit with multiple roads blocked by flooding.

A car drives through deep floodwater in Spain
In Catalonia, 40 roads were blocked due to flooding and landslidesImage: Reuters/S. Ojeda

High-speed trains were cancelled between Barcelona and France after some of the track was washed away south of Montpellier.

Alternative routes were being explored, said a spokesperson for the French state-run train company SNCF.

In the city of Argeles-sur-Mer in the Pyrenees-Orientales department, flooding was strong enough to wedge a vehicle on top of a traffic bollard, and blocks of cement were carried along in the floodwaters.

In the city of Beziers rainfall reached 16.5 centimeters (6 inches) in 24 hours.

A police car drives through flood waters in France
In France, emergency services rescued 1000 people from the deadly floodwatersImage: AFP/E. Cabanis

France's national weather authority said storms and heavy rains could continue through to Thursday.

In Catalonia, the severe rainfall caused power cuts affecting 25,000 people and closed 40 roads.

Last month, record levels of rainfall claimed seven lives in southeast Spain.

kmm/se (Reuters, dpa)

Every evening, DW sends out a selection of the day's news and features. Sign up here.

Skip next section Explore more
Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

Ex-President Donald Trump giving a speech at his Mar-o-Lago home
Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage