Areas of the south of France are recovering after severe flooding which caused extensive damage and forced thousand of people out of their homes. The Gard and Herault regions were the worst affected. Authorities had declared an orange alert – the second highest in their extreme weather warning system.There are no reports of casualties but thousands of houses and businesses were flooded. Overnight the streets of the city of Nimes resembled fast-flowing rivers. The flash-floods caught many be surprise and some school children had to spend the night in their classrooms. The storms caused transport problems across much of south-eastern France. Thousands were left without electricity and the phone network in some places was down for a while. In towns and villages hit hardest the army has been drafted in to help local people with the clear-up operation. Local officials have called for more help from the government.