Two dead and 24 missing after floods in France and Italy

Record rain in mountainous region destroys bridges, blocks roads and cuts off communities

Flooding from record rains in a mountainous region of France and Italy has killed two people in Italy and left at least 24 people in the two countries missing.

A storm that moved overnight across south-eastern France and then northern Italycaused flooding on both sides of the border, destroying bridges, blocking roads and isolating communities.

In Italy’s northern region of Val d’Aosta, a firefighter was killed during a rescue operation. In Vercelli province, a body was found near to where a man had been swept away by flood waters late on Friday.

People clean up after flooding in Ventimiglia, northern Italy.Photograph: Federico Scoppa/AFP/Getty Images

Sixteen people were reported missing in Italy, all but one of them travellers in cars on the Col de Tende high mountain pass between France and Italy, according to civil protection authorities.

They included two adults from Germany driving with their 11-year-old and six-year-old grandchildren, and a pair of brothers returning from France.

A spokesman for Italy’s firefighters said a search was ongoing for a missing shepherd who was pulled into flood waters on the Col de Tende.

Flooding of the river Tanaro, in Ormea, near Cuneo, which beats the flood values of 1994 and 2016 before falling below the levels of danger, Italy, Saturday. Photo by Raffaele Sasso/EPA-EFE
TOPSHOT - This aerial view taken on October 3, 2020 shows the damage in Saint-Martin-Vesubie, southeastern France, after heavy rains and floodings hit the Alpes-Maritimes department. - Heavy rains and brutal floods have left villages cut off from the world in the Alpes Maritimes, where hundreds of fire-fighters have been mobilised on October 3, to find nine missing persons. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP) (Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)
An aerial showing the damage in Saint-Martin-Vesubie, southeastern France (Picture: AFP via Getty)
This aerial view taken on October 3, 2020 shows the damage in Roquebilliere, southeastern France, after heavy rains and floodings hit the Alpes-Maritimes department. - Heavy rains and brutal floods have left villages cut off from the world in the Alpes Maritimes, where hundreds of fire-fighters have been mobilised on October 3, to find nine missing persons. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP) (Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)
Heavy rains and flooding hit the Alpes-Maritimes region (Picture: AFP via Getty)
TOPSHOT - This aerial view taken on October 3, 2020 shows flood waters surging through Saint-Martin-Vesubie, southeastern France, after heavy rains and floodings hit the Alpes-Maritimes department. - Heavy rains and brutal floods have left villages cut off from the world in the Alpes Maritimes, where hundreds of fire-fighters have been mobilised on October 3, to find nine missing persons. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP) (Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)
Villages have been left cut off from surrounding regions (Picture: AFP via Getty)

The spokesman, Luca Cari, said he suspected that the other people reported missing in Italy had lost phone contact, and they were not currently thought to be in imminent danger.

The situation on the high mountain pass was complicated by the fact that French emergency responders could not access their side of a tunnel due to flood damage, Cari said. Italian firefighters were searching the French side for people whose route may have been blocked.

In northern Italy’s Piedmont region, overnight rainfall reached levels not recorded since 1958. As much as 630mm (24.8in) of rain fell in a 24-hour period, according to the Italian civil protection agency.

TOPSHOT - This aerial view taken on October 3, 2020 shows the damage in Saint-Martin-Vesubie, southeastern France, after heavy rains and floodings hit the Alpes-Maritimes department. - Heavy rains and brutal floods have left villages cut off from the world in the Alpes Maritimes, where hundreds of fire-fighters have been mobilised on October 3, to find nine missing persons. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP) (Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)
Hundreds of firefighters have been mobilised (Picture: AFP via Getty)
TOPSHOT - This aerial view taken on October 3, 2020 shows flood waters surging through Saint-Martin-Vesubie, southeastern France, after heavy rains and floodings hit the Alpes-Maritimes department. - Heavy rains and brutal floods have left villages cut off from the world in the Alpes Maritimes, where hundreds of fire-fighters have been mobilised on October 3, to find nine missing persons. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP) (Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)
At least 100 homes are thought to have been destroyed (Picture: AFP via Getty)
Men stand near a damaged section of road on the outskirts of Roquebilliere, south-eastern France, on October 3, 2020, after the town in the Alpes-Maritimes department was struck by a severe storm. - One person died and authorities listed some 20 as missing after heavy storms lashed southern France and northern Italy with hundreds of aid workers deployed to villages cut off by the deluge. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP) (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images)
Men stand near a damaged section of road on the outskirts of Roquebilliere, south-eastern France (Picture: AFP via Getty)
An emergency services vehicle stands on a road covered in debris ay Roquebilliere, south-eastern France, on October 3, 2020, after the town in the Alpes-Maritimes department was struck by a severe storm. - One person died and authorities listed some 20 as missing after heavy storms lashed southern France and northern Italy with hundreds of aid workers deployed to villages cut off by the deluge. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP) (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images)
One person died and authorities listed 19 as missing after heavy storms lashed southern France and northern Italy (Picture: AFP via Getty)

Hundreds of rescue operations were under way. Eleven campers were saved in Vercelli province, where flood waters hit 20-year highs. Alpine rescue squads came to the aid of seven people in houses cut off by flooding at Terme di Valdieri.

In south-east France, almost a year’s average rainfall fell in less than 12 hours in the mountainous area surrounding the city of Nice.

Local firefighters said at least eight people were missing, including two firefighters whose vehicle was carried away by water when the road collapsed during a rescue operation.

A Civil Societe helicopter prepares to take off as personnel evacuate an injured person from Roquebilliere, south-eastern France, on October 3, 2020, after the waters of the swollen river surged through the town in the Alpes-Maritimes department. - One person died and authorities listed some 20 as missing after heavy storms lashed southern France and northern Italy with hundreds of aid workers deployed to villages cut off by the deluge. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP) (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images)
A Civil Societe helicopter prepares to take off with an injured person from Roquebilliere (Picture: AFP via Getty)
This photo taken on October 3, 2020 and provided by Italian news agency ANSA shows a block of concrete that collapsed from a building in a watercourse following bad weather and floods in Limone Piemonte, near Cuneo, Piedmont. - One person has died and 11 others are listed as missing on October 3, 2020 after severe flooding across northern Italy, officials said following torrential overnight rain. (Photo by STRINGER / ANSA / AFP) / Italy OUT (Photo by STRINGER/ANSA/AFP via Getty Images)
Buildings and roads were also damaged across the border in Italy (Picture: AFP via Getty)
This photo taken on October 3, 2020 and provided by Italian news agency ANSA shows a three-storey building under renovation that collapsed next to a watercourse following bad weather and floods in Limone Piemonte, near Cuneo, Piedmont. - One person has died and 11 others are listed as missing on October 3, 2020 after severe flooding across northern Italy, officials said following torrential overnight rain. (Photo by STRINGER / ANSA / AFP) / Italy OUT (Photo by STRINGER/ANSA/AFP via Getty Images)
A three-storey building under renovation that collapsed next to a watercourse following bad weather and floods in Limone Piemonte, near Cuneo (Picture: AFP via Getty)
TOPSHOT - This general view shows a partially submerged truck in the River Vesubie at Roquebilliere, south-eastern France, on October 3, 2020, after the waters of the swollen river surged through the town in the Alpes-Maritimes department. - One person died and authorities listed some 20 as missing after heavy storms lashed southern France and northern Italy with hundreds of aid workers deployed to villages cut off by the deluge. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP) (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images)
A partially submerged truck in the River Vesubie at Roquebilliere (Picture: AFP via Getty)
People stand on the side of a damaged road in Roquebilliere, south-eastern France, on October 3, 2020, after the waters of the swollen River Vesubie (below) surged through the town in the Alpes-Maritimes department. - One person died and authorities listed some 20 as missing after heavy storms lashed southern France and northern Italy with hundreds of aid workers deployed to villages cut off by the deluge. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP) (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images)
People stand on the side of a damaged road in Roquebilliere (Picture: AFP via Getty)

Nice’s mayor, Christian Estrosi, expressed his “emotion and sympathy” for the families. He said more than 100 homes had been destroyed or severely damaged. Firefighters said several dozen people were evacuated from their homes overnight.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, expressed gratitude to rescuers. “Together we will get through this,” he said.

THE GUARDIAN

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