Hundreds evacuated by helicopter from flooded campsites in France

One German tourist has been reported missing

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.

Hundreds of rescuers backed by helicopters moved out about 1,600 people, a lot of them campers, in three regions of southern France where heavy rain caused flash flooding and transformed rivers and streams into torrents, the interior minister said Thursday.

Divers are taking part in the search for the missing man, according to witnesses.

He was accompanying a group of around 100 German children.

Jean-Yves Chapelet, mayor of Bagnols, said many Dutch tourists were among the 350 campers evacuated there.

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The missing German was supervising the children at the camp.

The worst-hit areas are Gard, Ardèche and Drôme.

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

Footage posted on social media showed dramatic scenes of flooding.

"No one has suitcases".

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Rescuers walk past a damaged tent in a flooded camp ground in Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas, southern France.

Hundreds of firefighters backed by four helicopters helped in the evacuation.

Numerous roads in the area remained cut off as night fell. Authorities warned that the flooding would take time to recede and urged people to be vigilant.

The man, who is believed to be in his 70s, was helping supervise over 119 German children and youths who were camping in Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas.

Several parts of central and southeast France are on flood alert after a blazing heatwave ended abruptly in storms on Thursday.

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Around 19,000 homes are without power, Le Monde reported.

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