• France's news in English

Two missing as Riviera flood death toll rises

The Local · 6 Oct 2015, 08:10

Published: 06 Oct 2015 08:10 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Volunteers and firefighters continued the gruelling task on Tuesday of cleaning up French Riviera towns strewn with mud and debris, as the death toll from floods which tore through the region rose to 20.

Citizens of Britain, Italy and Portugal were among those who died when a torrential weekend downpour trapped people in garages and retirement homes in Mediterranean resort towns beloved by jet-setting tourists.

Water gushed through the streets of Cannes, Nice and Antibes, leaving cars including Porsches and Ferraris scattered about, often upside down and hundreds of metres from where they were parked.

Another person was found dead Monday in the worst-hit town of Mandelieu-la-Napoule, with eight now confirmed killed there after being trapped in garages when they tried to remove their cars, a local official said.

And in Cannes a body was found in an underground parking lot. Two people who had been listed as missing were found alive.

Mandelieu-la-Napoule mayor Henri Leroy on Sunday described the situation as "apocalyptic".

In London, the Foreign Office said a British national had died, while an Italian woman and Portuguese man were also among the dead, a local official said.

As night fell Monday, officials said two German citizens were missing in Antibes.

In the town of Biot, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Monte Carlo where three people drowned in a retirement home, hundreds of clean-up workers clad in diving suits and carrying chainsaws removed trees and debris strewn around a river.

As the Mediterranean sunshine returned, volunteers grabbed mops to help victims of the damage clean out thick layers of mud from their homes and businesses.

"It is everywhere, it smells bad and it seeps into everything. It is making the furniture swell up," said one local woman, who did not give her name.

Some 9,000 households in the region still had no electricity after record rainfall that saw 180 millimetres (seven inches) of water fall on Cannes alone -- nearly two months' worth in three hours.

SEE ALSO: Marineland park left under sea of mud

Also hard-hit was Antibes Marineland, Europe's biggest marine park, where penguins and sea lions found themselves in mud-filled pools.

"We have no electricity, no flowing water," said park director Bernard Gianpaolo, as dozens of firemen worked to pump out water blocking filtration systems.

Shocked residents gave graphic accounts of the drama.

"I saw water pour in from the veranda. Within five minutes, it was up to my waist," said France Oberlin, a retired resident of Mandelieu-la-Napoule.

Story continues below…

Guy Morales in Cannes described how he was in his car when "a sort of wave carried us away. We couldn't do anything, the car hurtled down the street."

He, his wife and his dog managed to get out of the car and waited on top of a wall for three hours for the water - which had been at shoulder height - to recede.

Rail operator SNCF was trying to restore train services after serious damage to tracks, electrical lines and infrastructure in the floods.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said nine people had been arrested in Cannes for looting.

The region's worst flood in the past 25 years was in June 2010, when 25 people were killed and one billion euros ($1.12 billion) of damage was caused.

In December 1999, 92 people in France were killed by flooding and fallen trees as hurricane-strength winds battered northwestern Europe.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Homeless man does a runner from France's top restaurants
Photo: Prayitno/Flickr

"A man's gotta eat," he told police, after racking up gigantic bills in some of France's plushest restaurants.

Underwater museum hopes to make a splash in Marseille
A similar underwater museum piece by Jason deCaires Taylor. Photo: julie rohloff/Flickr

Don't forget your scuba gear...

Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Photo: Jacme/Flickr

Move over Paris...

And France's top chef of the year is... 'Monsieur Idiot'
Alexandre Couillon might have an unfortunate name, but he can sure cook!. Photo: AFP

Look beyond the name. He's the man who turned his family's humble "moules frites" joint into one of France's best seafood restaurants.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
Want to drive a scooter around Paris? Here's what you need to know
jobs available