Almost 1,500 evacuated in Paris region as Seine rises

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This photo taken Jan. 28, 2018 shows the cafe 'Les Nautes' in Paris partly immersed in the the water of the Seine river. (AFP Photo)
This photo taken Jan. 28, 2018 shows the cafe 'Les Nautes' in Paris partly immersed in the the water of the Seine river. (AFP Photo)

Nearly 1,500 people have been evacuated from homes in the Paris region, with authorities on alert for any major flood risk after the levels of the swollen River Seine rose further on Sunday.

Michel Delpuech, head of the Paris police body, told reporters that around 1,500 people had been moved out of homes in the Ile de France region comprising the French capital and its suburbs.

"The waters will only go away slowly," added Delpuech.

The Seine's waters were set to peak later Sunday or early Monday close to levels which led to similar flooding in 2016, authorities said.

The bottom floor of the Louvre museum, several Parisian parks and riverside train stations were closed as a precaution.

Floodwaters have halted boat traffic in Paris, closed roads and schools and prompted the evacuation of hospitals.

Paris's "Bateaux Mouches" tourist boats have been shut down due to the high waters while swans have been seen swimming where there are usually pavements and rats forced up onto the streets.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted Sunday that "the situation is relatively under control," but she urged vigilance and changes to city planning to adapt to an increasing number of extreme weather events.

More than 240 towns along the Seine and smaller rivers have suffered damage.

"The situation remains more sensitive downstream," as the high waters from the Seine and its tributaries come together and work their way northwest toward the Atlantic Ocean, Paris regional police chief Michel Delpuech warned.

Instead of cars, swans and canoes occupied thoroughfares Sunday in the town of Villennes-sur-Seine west of Paris.

Flooding caused destruction in Paris in 1910 when the Seine rose by 8.65 meters, although no deaths were recorded there.

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