Two people have died and more than 150 have had to be airlifted to safety over the weekend as “record rainfall” led to led to floods in southeastern France.
According to local authorities, more than 4,000 homes have been left without power. Speaking to reporters on Sunday, local official Laurent Cayrel said, “The situation is very worrying, and it’s not going to get any better tonight.”
The Var region, which is located on the Mediterranean coast known as the Rivera, is popular with tourists because of its sunny weather. However, with more rain expected, the authorities have urged people to be vigilant. Emergency helicopters, fire officers and police were ready to respond to the situation throughout the night.
The rainfall experienced in France follows flooding across England. Heavy rainfall and strong wind battered the UK over the Christmas period and left thousands of homes without electricity. Environmental campaigners questioned the UK government’s claims it is spending more money on flood defences than ever before. MPs also demanded to know how budget cuts would impact on the government’s ability to respond to emergencies, such as flooding, in the future.
David Cameron has previously linked the extreme weather to climate change. He said that he “very much suspects” that the unusually large amount of rainfall was because of climate change and reaffirmed his commitment to reduce emissions in line with the Climate Change Act.
However, the Met Office said it was not entirely sure that the extreme weather could be attributed to climate change. “You can’t say definitely that an event is caused by climate change and climate change only because we have always had extreme weather,” commented Dan Williams, senior press officer at the Met Office.