Six die in severe floods in southern France as prime minister blames climate change

Six people, including three emergency workers, have died in severe flooding in the south of France as a new bout of bad weather lashed the area.

Twelve people have now been killed in the last 10 days in southeastern France, which is reeling from two successive “Mediterranean episodes”, the name given to extreme weather in the area including torrential rain, heavy flooding and high winds.

On Sunday night, a pilot, a technician and a rescue specialist from the fire brigade died when their EC145 helicopter crashed during a rescue and reconnaissance flight in the Var region.

Emergency teams found the bodies of the three men aboard early Monday near Marseille, and the wreckage was spotted nearby. An investigation is underway.

Two other people were killed on Sunday in the Riviera, a week after six died in similar severe weather in the area.

In the Var region, a shepherd was swept away while trying to cross a river in his jeep.

Elsewhere in the region, a stable owner was found dead two hours after he was swept away by flood waters while watching over his animals.

On Monday, the body of a sixth victim, a 35-year old woman, was recovered in the town of Villeneuve in the Alps of Haute Provence after disappearing while on a family trip.

The crash came as Emmanuel Macron, the French president, honoured 13 French soldiers who died when their helicopters collided in Mali last week in an operation against jihadists.

A string of cultural and sporting events were also called off due to the bad weather, including Paris Saint-Germain’s Ligue 1 match at Monaco.

Expressing condolences for those killed in both storms, Edouard Philippe, the prime minister, noted the "growing regularity and intensity" of extreme weather events.

Arriving at UN climate talks in Madrid, Mr Philippe said that "many see, and rightly so, the signs of climate change in this, and signs of the threats that are weighing on the populations of France and the world.

“Anyone who ignores these signs… is making a profound mistake."

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