home General News Bad Weather on the French Riviera: 17 Dead and Four Missing

Bad Weather on the French Riviera: 17 Dead and Four Missing

Scene of devastation after the bad weather hit the French Riviera
A man walks past damaged cars in Biot, near Cannes, southeastern France, Sunday Oct.4, 2015. Sudden heavy rains around the French Riviera have killed at least 10 people, including some trapped in cars, a campsite and a retirement home, and left six missing. Car and train traffic was disrupted along the Mediterranean coast. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)/NIC103/774647984835/1510041138 – Lionel Cironneau/AP/SIPA

DISASTER De Mandelieu-la-Napoule in Nice, floods have trapped the inhabitants of the coast …

It is a scene of desolation that awaited the inhabitants of the Riviera on Sunday morning. Despite the sun, damage from the weather of the previous night were visible on about thirty kilometers along the coast of Mandelieu-la-Napoule in Nice: flooded car parks, tangled cars, streets covered with mud.

17 dead and 4 missing

Throughout the day Sunday, the death toll from the disaster has risen: there are 17 dead by Sunday night, trapped in underground parking, stuck in a tunnel or drowned in their retirement home, and four people are still missing (one in Antibes, both in Cannes and in Mandelieu-la-Napoule), said Sébastien Humbert, sub-prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes. Some 250 people were housed in temporary accommodation in the department, while a total of 11,000 homes were still without power in five municipalities.  Today, Monday, 15 schools, a college and a high school will remain closed.

At Mandelieu, residents were surprised on Saturday night, with the amount of rainfall, and went down into the underground car parks to bring their vehicles to the shelter.  In the basement, “the water is so opaque that firefighters do not see the body. (…) It is apocalyptic, “described the mayor Henri Leroy. Relief came in as and bodies parking lots, then transported by vans funeral.

Nursing home and camping

The floods also caused casualties in Biot where three residents of a nursing home died and to Vallauris Golfe-Juan where a family of three died in a car via a small tunnel during the flood and Antibes where a woman was washed away in a campsite.  The campsite,  Camping du Pylone was devastated: “Usually we have time to warn people,” says Françoise Pauget, the owner. “We still have half an hour to prevent everyone.  But there was just 10 minutes, what do you do? ”
At Biot, witnesses of the drama also discussed the rapid sequence of events. “We had two employees that ensured the monitoring of the retirement home that night and 48 boarders: a nursing assistant and carer”, told AFP Jean-Christophe Romersi, the regional head of the group that manages the establishment. “But they found themselves cut off from the world, unable to call for help by phone,” he continues. Three elderly, housed on the ground floor, could not be saved.

Despite the intensity and speed of the storm, the results remained below that torrential rain that had made ​​in June 2010 in the Var which left 25 dead, 31,560 affected and nearly a billion of damage.

“It is better to leave your car that losing your life”

Visiting the scene of the disaster, President François Hollande stressed that the state of natural disaster was declared on Wednesday by the Cabinet.  The president of the Alpes-Maritimes Departmental Council, Éric Ciotti, proposed the immediate local release of  “a budget of five million euros” to support the victims.  Michel Vauzelle, PS President of the PACA region, it has announced the release of an exceptional emergency aid of four million euros.

At Cannes, the crisis in the premises of the municipal police, Francois Hollande could watch CCTV footage recorded during the night, to the side of Mayor David Lisnard. The storms have killed two people in the street in Cannes. The Head of State also spoke about the conditions in which at least seven people died in the nearby town of Mandelieu-la-Napoule, trapped in the parking lot of their residence in probably trying to go to their cars to shelter. “Once again, we must warn that at some point it is better to leave the car that letting his life,” said Francois Hollande.

Speaking to the press, the President made a connection of the extreme weather with climate change, recalling that France would host the conference on the Cop21 climate. “There have always been disasters, but the pace, intensity were strengthened,” he held, calling for “make decisions” for the climate.

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