Lourdes: floods descend on French pilgrim town

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Lourdes: floods descend on French pilgrim town

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French authorities are assessing the damage to the Catholic pilgrim town of Lourdes that has been swamped by the overflowing River Gave.

Around 500 pilgrims had to be rescued from hotels along the river bank. Two campsites were cleared and several roads were closed.

The town attracts visitors from all over the world to a place where Catholics believe the Virgin Mary appeared to a peasant girl in 1858.

The place where it’s said to have happened is also under water.

The evacuees were looked after in makeshift rescue centres on higher ground.

No one was reported harmed.

Local people said they had not seen anything like it for 40 years. Only the basilica above the town was spared from the water.

Authorities say that last year, six million pilgrims visited Lourdes