At least five killed as hurricane-force winds batter Corsica

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Five people including a girl and an elderly woman died as hurricane-force winds battered France’s Corsica on Thursday, leaving 45,000 households without electricity, authorities said.

Hail, heavy rain and winds measured as peaking at 224 kilometers per hour (140 mph) swept across the French island as parts of the country - which has been hit by a series of heatwaves and severe drought - saw more rain in just a few hours than in recent months combined.

Those killed on Corsica, a major tourist destination, included a 13-year-old girl who died when a tree fell on the campsite where she was staying and a 72-year-old woman whose car was struck by a beach hut roof, authorities said.

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At least twelve people were injured on the island, and rescue operations were under way offshore, they added.

On France’s mainland, grid operator Enedis said about 1,000 households were without power after a storm hit the southern Loire and Ain departments.

On Wednesday evening in Marseille, streets were flooded and streams of water ran down steps in the port city, videos shared on social media showed.

Further north, drought has left the river Loire, famous for castles along its banks, so shallow that even flat-bottomed tourist barges can barely navigate it.

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