1. ITV Report

French judge charges two German officials over campsite flood

A damaged trailer after floods in a campsite in Saint-Julien de Peyrolas, France. Photo: AP

A French judge on Saturday handed preliminary charges to two Germans whose group ran an unauthorised campsite in southern France which was inundated by flash floods, forcing the emergency evacuation of 119 children.

The men, who were not identified by name, were given preliminary charges of involuntary injury aggravated by endangerment and creating a campsite without a permit, Nimes prosecutor Eric Maurel said.

The newspaper Le Monde identified the two as the president and vice president of the Jugendforderung Saint-Antonius group, which owned the land where the campsite was located, in the village of Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas in the Gard region.

Flash floods send a torrent of water down a street in Aubagne. Credit: Stéphane Decoux/AP

The children were rapidly evacuated on Thursday as the rivers overflowed their banks. A handful were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

The two were placed under judicial supervision and forbidden to visit the Gard region except to appear when summoned by judicial authorities and meet with their lawyers, Maurel said.

They were given 15 days to remove their possessions from the site.

Gendarmes inspect a damaged caravan. Credit: Jose Roca/French Gendarmerie National via AP

Rescuers continued to search for a missing German monitor at the campsite, which was inundated during the flash floods on Thursday that reportedly swept away his van.

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.

The campsite in Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas was in a flood zone.

Just 48 hours before the waters suddenly rose, municipal officials had warned the group of the dangers of remaining due to the threat of rising waters, the prosecutor’s office said.