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At least 13 die in French Riviera floods

Saturday's Nice-Nantes footballmatch was called off because of the storms
Saturday's Nice-Nantes footballmatch was called off because of the storms Reuters/Eric Gaillard

At least 13 people have died in the south of France due to flooding as violent storms swept through the region on Saturday night. Six were reported missing on Sunday morning. Heavy flooding along the Côte d'Azur saw the River Brague burst its banks close to the city of Antibes and sent waves crashing into a nearby retirement home where three people drowned.


Five people were missing in a carpark, according to local officials in Mandelieu-la-Napoule, where another person was impaled on a campsite

Three other people drowned when their car got stuck in a tunnel at Vallauris-Golfe-Juan. 

Another victim drowned in a carpark in the resort city of Cannes, where the mayor's office said an emergency plan was now in effect, while a 13th impaled 

"Some cars were carried off into the sea," said Cannes mayor Davis Lisnard, describing water levels reaching halfway up car doors and trees left uprooted on the city's main street.

 "We have rescued a lot of people and we must now be vigilant against looting," Lisnard said.

As much rain fell along the coast in the two days as usually falls in the whole month of October.

Some 35,000 homes were without power and French rail company SNCF said around a dozen trains had been halted.

Up to 500 tourists, mostly British and Danish nationals, were stuck overnight at Nice airport. 

French President François Hollande and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve annnounced their intention to visit the affected area to take stock of rescue efforts. 

Hollande thanked rescuers and politicians for their work so far, expressing the "solidarity of the nation" and offering condolences to the families affected, while Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who was on a visit to Japan, spoke of his "deep emotion" upon hearing of the deaths.

Forecasters at France's weather agency on Sunday said the worst storms had passed over the French mainland and were headed for the Italian coast.

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