Alpes-Maritimes: Bad Weather and Floods leave Several Dead

General News
Floods and extreme storms has hit Nice and Cannes
Floods and extreme storms has hit Nice and Cannes
floods have submerged roads and streets, as here in Nice. | (Photo Valery Hache / AFP)

Extreme floods with very violent storms that hit Saturday night in the Alpes-Maritimes have left, according to a latest report, sixteen dead.

A deluge of rain on Saturday night, which notably led to the flooding of the small coastal river Brague, has overwhelmed the streets of Cannes, Antibes, Mandelieu-la-Napoule, Villeneuve-Loubet and Nice, said François-Xavier Lauch, director firm the prefect of Alpes-Maritimes.

This Sunday morning, the prefecture announced a sixteenth victim. Three elderly people drowned in a nursing home in the town of Biot, near Antibes.  “They probably were on the ground floor and were drowned by a sheet of water,”said Mr. Lauch.

In Cannes, a woman in her sixties was found dead near a parking area. Three other victims were discovered in their car-Vallauris Golfe-Juan. The vehicle was taken by the water via a small tunnel. Finally, the bodies of five people are wanted in car parks of two buildings of Mandelieu-la-Napoule, currently pumped relief, said the prefecture.


The downpour also flooded campsites near Antibes. Two helicopters firefighters chained caravans for safekeeping their occupants, some of whom were “refugees on the roofs of their caravan”.  Relief have the greatest difficulties in accessing affected areas, raising fears that the death toll is still not final. Emergency reception structures were opened in the affected towns and relief requested reinforcements beyond the department.

Hollande expressed “the solidarity of the nation”

The results so far remains below the torrential rains of June 2010 in the Var department, which had killed 25 people, 31 560 victims and nearly a billion euros of damage. President Francois Hollande, visiting the area who will be on site this Sunday morning Sunday expressed “the solidarity of the nation” and thanked “elected officials and relief actors who have fully mobilized”.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls said from Japan his “deep emotion face the terrible consequences of the weather” and “support to the bereaved families”.

The interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, has travelled Sunday morning to the Alpes-Maritimes  “for an update on relief operations”, announced the Ministry of Interior.  “My emotion was immense last night with the terrible toll of weather “, said the president of the County Council, Eric Ciotti.

“Some vehicles were swept into the sea”, told the mayor of Cannes David Lisnard, indicating that most of the city was affected.  “we must now prevent the phenomena of looting “, added the elect, who urgently hosted 120 people in a room overnight.

Bulk material damage

In Nice, the trees were lying on the Promenade des Anglais and evacuation took place in a neighborhood northeast of the city. Large damage is also a risk while some 35 000 homes are still without electricity, including 14,000 in Cannes.

The secondary roads were still impassable in many places this morning.  Part of the A8 was submerged by the river Brague near Antibes and a crane will have to clear a landslide on Sunday at Mougins (north of Cannes).  A detour will be in place to avoid this stretch of highway which is  impassable, between Antibes and Saint-Laurent du Var.

Hundreds of wrecked rail

In a region where the tourist season is still in full swing, more than 500 people, including many British and Danes, were stranded, hosted in terminals at Nice Airport.  Hundreds of  “shipwrecked rail” were also identified in the evening locked in a dozen trains immobilized in Southeastern stations.  SNCF has distributed their meal trays and blankets during the night.  Some routes, particularly around Cannes, are submerged, completely stopping rail traffic. Passengers of two trains were evacuated by relief in the Alpes-Maritimes, including a group of older pilgrims whose train was stopped in full way to Cannes-La Bocca.

The equivalent of one month of rain

Heavy rains also surprised players and spectators at the Nice-Nantes football match, when play was interrupted in the 46th minute when the field become unplayable due to heavy rains.

The storms eased off in the middle of the night and dispersed towards Italy.  The readings from Météo-France are impressive with between 7pm and 10pm, 180 mm of rain fell in Cannes, 159 mm in Mandelieu-la-Napoule, and 100 mm in Valbonne (near Biot).  In two days, the coastal area has received the equivalent of a month’s rain through October, 10% of annual precipitation, calculated the town of Nice.

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