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Floods kill at least 1 in southwest France

March 9, 2013 at 3:29 PM

PERPIGNAN, France, March 9 (UPI) -- A government minister declared a "state of natural catastrophe" after floods killed least one person and destroyed hundreds of homes in southwestern France.

Ecology Minister Delphine Batho toured the area Thursday and Friday after the rains that caused the flooding subsided, Radio France Internationale said. She visited a factory that was under nearly 2 feet of water after the Agly River spilled over its banks.

One woman was found dead when she ignored warning signs and attempted to ford a small road that had been covered in water outside Perpignan, France. She was found drowned in her car a few hundred yards downstream, officials said.

In all, about 750 people were evacuated.

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