Heavy flooding in the South East of France has left thirteen people dead and many more missing, say French officials.
Violent storms have left the area inundated with floodwater. In the city of Antibes, three residents of an elderly retirement home were drowned when the river Bragues burst its banks and flooded the building, whilst another victim was found dead at a campsite.
Another three people died when driving their car through a small tunnel, as they became trapped by the rising water, and a further five people died when trying to park their cars under shelter.
Heavy currents could be seen flowing through the streets of Cannes, where a woman of sixty was also killed. A British journalist based in the festival town said that “the crossroads were the most dangerous parts”, as water and debris were carried along at a fast pace. Residents had to wade through knee-deep water to make their way home on Saturday night.
Cars were also swept away, some ending up in the sea, and others lodged at precarious angles or perched against railings, whilst some drivers were forced to abandon their vehicles as the flood waters rose.
The city of Nice is said to have received 10% of its average yearly rainfall in just two days, whilst more than 17cm of rain fell over Cannes over a period of two hours.
French President Francois Hollande has spoken publicly, to thank rescuers and praise the “solidarity of the nation”. He and French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve will visit the region today to see the damage inflicted and the rescue efforts taking place.
The power supply to up to 35,000 homes across the area has been affected, and several train services have been halted as a precaution, whilst the main motorway has been temporarily closed. Rescuers have been working hard to reach people, with some stranded atop their caravans in campsites, and around 500 tourists sought shelter overnight in Nice airport.
Forecasters predicted that the region had seen the worst of the rain, and the bad weather was now moving towards the Italian coast.