Two new major floods caused the biggest loss of life in the 20th century in France, since the Tarn disaster of 1930.
The fiercest of these floods happened on 29 September and was triggered by heavy downpours in the Cévennes (429 mm in 48 hours at St Jean du Gard).
35 people died, including 21 motorists, 18 of whom perished in the Gardonnenque (see page 14) between Boucoiran and St Chaptes, on 30 September.
There was huge damage at Alès, especially at the Pré St Jean, and 4 bridges were destroyed at Ners, St Jean du Gard, Labaume and Cendras.
Forty-five towns and villages were hit by the floods and millions of hectares of crops lost. The cost of the damage amounted to 80 billion francs.
Rain fell again on 3 and 4 October (150 mm at Génolhac, in 2 days) causing another fierce flood, albeit less severe than before.
No sooner back in power, General De Gaule visited the Department to show his solidarity with the victims of the flood and local elected officials.
The Gardon River at Collias…
Photo: Paul Boyer
Photo: Georgette Grazioli.
Le Vidourle à Sommières.
Fond Hervé Collignon,
archives municipales de Nîmes.