At least 17 people on Sunday have been confirmed dead, while four remain missing from overnight floods in southern France as residents were warned to prepare for more inclement weather.
French President Francois Hollande, during a visit earlier in the day to the town of Biot along with Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, said the situation on many streets remained unsafe and urged people to pay attention and exercise caution.
The flooding primarily struck communities along the French Riviera along the country’s Mediterranean coast. Hollande backed up an earlier statement by Prime Minister Manuel Valls promising the state’s full support in clean-up and rescue operations.
The prefecture of Alpes-Maritimes stated that more than 500 rescuers were at work, searching for victims.
In the town of Mandeliue-la Napoule alone, seven deaths were reported. The victims are presumed to have died while they were trying to bring their cars to safety.
The town of Vallauris-Golfe-Juan also reported three dead. They died trying to get through a flooded tunnel, reported AFP. Other deaths reported included three at a home for the elderly in Biot, three deaths in Cannes and one dead at a camping site in Antibes.
Many roads and train stations remained flooded in the region. Many travelers were stranded and had to be helped with blankets and food so they could make it through the night.
In at least one case, a group of campers had to be rescued from the roof of their camper by helicopter as a number of camping sites were also flooded.
The cities of Cannes and Nice were also affected, with several streets rendered unpassable by the high water. Nice’s famous Promenade des Anglais was underwater and some cars that had been parked there had been washed out to sea.
There were no comprehensive reports concerning property damage as of yet. In a similar disaster in 2010 in the neighbouring region of Var, 25 people were killed and damage totalled about a billion dollars.