Torrential rains devastate southern France and northern Italy

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At least eight people, including two firefighters, have been given by missing this friday close to Nice, in the department Alpes-Maritimes, in the southeastern France, after Torrential rains that caused the storm ‘Alex’ and that they have caused “exceptional” floods in the words of the meteorological agency Météo France. The water has washed away houses and infrastructure and has left isolated municipalities. The storm also ravages the Piedmont region, in the north of Italy, where a person has dead and 11 others have disappeared.

According to the French authorities, in just ten hours more than 500 milliliters of rainfall fell on the populations that are in the deep valleys of this department, the equivalent of a normal year of rain in the area. The prime minister of the country, Jean Castex, and the Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmaninhave already arrived in Nice to see the affected area first hand.

Hundreds of firefighters participate in rescue efforts. Darmanin has promised to send additional helicopters and firefighters to the region, according to the plan finalized after a crisis meeting in Paris. The president of the country, Emmanuel Macron, has added to the condolences. “Together we will overcome this ordeal,” said Macron, who has addressed “thoughts” to the victims and conveyed his “immense gratitude” to rescue personnel.

Collapsed bridge over the Var

The two missing firefighters were participating in rescue operations when “they were dragged in their vehicle.” His companions “saw them go away in the water,” said deputy Eric Ciotti, who was at the fire brigade operations center. Local authorities have also reported two people missing in Roquebilliere, a municipality of 1,800 inhabitants about 50 km north of Nice. It is about “two people who took refuge on the roof of a house, the house collapsed and the firefighters saw them” fall into the water, Ciotti has detailed. Another person has disappeared in Curtains, also in the southeast.

The rains have also caused damage to infrastructure. Friday afternoon a bridge collapsed under water pressure in the same area. The river Var, which went out of its channel, completely invaded the road near the aeport of Nice, on the French Riviera.

Nice airport, the second in France after those in Paris, advised travelers on Twitter not to “go to the airport and check the airlines.” The city of Nice took precautionary measures, opening emergency accommodation centers and prohibiting access to the famous Promenade des Anglais, on the seafront.

The Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, has lamented enormous damage caused by floods. “We have faced a mess i’ve never seen before“, he pointed out to the local media.

The Sesia, overwhelmed

In Italy, a firefighter has passed away by the fall of a tree and 11 people have disappeared due to the floods that have affected mainly the Piedmont region, where the greatest number of damages is concentrated.

Among the disappeared are three volunteers from a cooperative in the area of Cuneo who were traveling aboard a van in Val Roya and a shepherd who was apparently washed away by a stream. In the zone of Gesso Valley, looking for six German hikers. It has also disappeared in Valsesia a young man in his twenties who was driving on the road between Doccio and Crevola, in the area of Vercelli, which has partially collapsed. Rail traffic had to be suspended between the towns of Vercelli and Novara, due to the Sesia overflow.

The daily rainfall recorded throughout Piedmont has surpassed the historical record of 1958explained the regional agency for environmental protection.

The president of the Piedmont region, Alberto Cirio, has asked the Government to declare the state of emergency by assuring that “in some areas the mayors complain of worse damages than the flood of 1994”.

The town of Limone, a tourist center in the Alps, on the border with France, is isolated and has no electricity or water and many areas are completely flooded and some buildings have been evacuated.

There are also strong floods in the Liguria region, in particular Ventimiglia, while in the area of Bergamo Wind gusts of more than 100 kilometers per hour were recorded and heavy rains have caused landslides, which has caused the closure of several provincial roads.

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