Draguignan suffered severe damage, with several deaths, from a flood on Tuesday 15 June 2010. With a rainstorm of unprecedented size in the Var hills, the worst flood in two centuries crashed through several towns in the local river valleys (Var floods 2010 map).
The main streets through Draguignan suffered from torrents of water and mud about 2 metres (6 feet) high. Cars were washed away like toys, shops and homes damaged or destroyed. The departmental prison, located beside the river just southwest of the center, was hurriedly evacuated, while helicopters lifted stranded people from rooftops.
Draguignan is located in the valley of the Nartuby, a small river that flows south through the hills from the Gorges de Châteaudouble. The flood waters, channeled by the hills, overflowed the Nartuby and into the town from the west.
At least 25 people were killed through the region, with 12 of deaths in Draguignan. As of 20 June there are still 13 people missing.
Post Flood Visit
We visited Draguignan at the end of July, six weeks after the disaster. It was a bustling place, on a sunny day, and if we hadn't been aware of recent history we wouldn't have known about it. Only at the particular area, at the far edge of town, has the signs of the disaster.
The Nartuby river flows past the southwest edge of Draguignan, where the D557 road starts out up the hill towards Flayosc and Lorgues. The raging river escaped its banks and flowed northeast down the main road towards the center of Draguignan. In this section, the stores and businesses along the road were heavily damaged, and the prison, also sitting beside the road, was evacuated. Today (6 weeks later) most of the shops and stores are open for business, amidst the remaining signs of the flooding. A large supermarket here was so badly damaged that it's still out of action, and many of the cars destroyed by the flooding are sitting nearby.