Two German men have been charged after floods forced the emergency evacuation of 119 children from an unauthorised campsite in southern France.
The men, not identified publicly, were handed preliminary charges of involuntary injury aggravated by endangerment and creating a campsite without a permit.
The children were among 1,600 people evacuated from five campsites in the Gard region on Thursday as flash floods from torrential rains swelled rivers.
A 67-year-old man, reportedly the campsite’s monitor, is still missing since he was swept away in the unexpected rush of fast-moving water.
The men are members of a German association running the campsite without a permit in the commune of Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas.
Le Monde newspaper identified the two as the president and vice president of the Jugendforderung Saint-Antonius group – which owns the land where the campsite was located.
The men 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.
They were given 15 days to remove their possessions from the site.
The 119 children were rapidly evacuated from the site, about 60 kilometres (37 miles) north of Avignon, after the Ardeche river burst its banks and swamped the campground in a fast-flowing muddy torrent.
More than 400 firefighters and police officers, many sent in from other areas, were involved in the operations.
The youngsters were taken to a community hall where they spent the night along with other holidaymakers.
Nine children were taken to hospital with minor injuries.
Rescuers are continuing to search for the missing German monitor at the campsite after the floods reportedly swept away his van.
The man was supervising a group of about 100 German children from the city of Leverkusen, who were evacuated from a campsite in Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas, 83 miles northeast of Montpellier.
British holidaymaker Tom Bryan said: I’ve been coming since the early 80s, when I was a teenager, and I’ve never seen anything like it.
The (water) level was so high it was impassable on either bank.
The campsite is gone, the restaurant has gone and such a high amount of water. My wife saw a whole caravan float down the river.
The campsite in Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas was in a flood zone.
Just 48 hours prior to the floods, municipal officers had warned the group of the dangers of remaining due to the threat of rising waters, the prosecutor’s office said.