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Man missing as storms lash south of France

A person with an umbrella walks under the rain in Marseille, southern France on November 21, 2019.
A person with an umbrella walks under the rain in Marseille, southern France on November 21, 2019. GERARD JULIEN / AFP

Rescue crews were on Saturday searching for an elderly man who went missing near floodwaters in the south of France, where bad weather has forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes.

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Firefighters are scouring waterways near the town of Saint-Antonin-du-Var, in the department of Var, near where the 77-year-old man was last seen. Reports say he was visibly disoriented.

A dozen departments around the Mediterranean and the Rhone Valley were put on orange alert as thunderstorms, heavy rain and strong winds continue to lash the region. Authorities are warning of increased risk of floods and falling trees.

By noon Saturday more than 2,400 houses in the Var, where the French Riviera is located, had lost electricity – while rail services between Toulon and Nice were cut due to flooding on the tracks.

Meanwhile there were reports of landslides in the Alpes-Maritimes region, where 100mm of rain had already fallen by Saturday morning.

Firefighters have responded to hundreds of emergency calls since Friday night.

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