France: About 1,500 people evacuated as Seine river reaches bursting point

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

In Paris, France, authorities evacuated about 1,500 people last weekend as the river Seine, was rising due to heavy rainfall. In parts of Paris, the river has flooded streets. Riverside walkways have been particularly hard hit.

Video of the Seine on January 27, 2018.
Video: Thesupermat.

The Seine, which had already swollen during last week due to the heavy and continuous rainfall in major parts of France, kept on rising further throughout the whole weekend, reaching 5.82 metres on Sunday mid-afternoon. The swollen Seine reached its maximum height of 5,85 m on Monday morning. This peak level is more than four metres higher than normal, though still below the maximum level of 6.1 metres reached during the June 2016 floods. Today, the river has begun to recede slowly. On Tuesday morning, a height of 5,74 m was measured near the Pont d'Austerlitz.

According to Michel Delpuech, the Parisian police chief, the people had been evacuated or called to leave their homes on Sunday in the whole Parisian region. About as many homes as the number of people being evacuated (± 1,500) were without electricity. The riverside walkways of Paris have been engulfed. Rats, which had been forced to leave their usual habitat have been seen in the streets of Paris. Traffic in the French capital was already disrupted by the floods last week, especially when a part of the Réseau Express Régional (RER) which runs along the Seine had to be shut down.

Chaos was already beginning on Friday, when a hospital in Yvelines where 86 patients were cured had to be evacuated. On Saturday, the world-famous Louvre museum decided to shut down for visitors a wing in its basements where Islamic arts are exhibited. Parisian tourist boats (the "Bateaux Mouches") were all shut down on Saturday evening. The police has given strict warnings not to go bathing or canoeing in the overflowing river, calling it "forbidden and extremely dangerous".

The Parisian Region, also known as Île-de-France, remains on high flood alert. In total, 240 communes in the whole region were on alert last weekend.

Paris' mayor Anne Hidalgo is especially worried about the impact the floods may have to economic activities related to the Seine.