PARIS – French authorities deployed about 1,000 firefighters, four military helicopters and troops to search for at least eight people who were missing after devastating floods hit a mountainous border region with Italy, where at least four people were killed.
Emergency workers in Italy recovered two corpses Sunday in northern Liguria that they feared may have been washed away as a result of the storms that killed two other people on Saturday.
Floods washed away houses and destroyed roads and bridges surrounding the city of Nice on the French Riviera after almost a year's average rainfall fell in less than 12 hours. Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said over 100 homes were destroyed or severely damaged.
Rescuers on Sunday were also providing emergency assistance, including food and water, to residents living in isolated villages.
The missing include two French firefighters whose vehicle was carried away by a torrent when a road collapsed south of the village of Saint-Martin-Vesubie. Authorities fear more victims as many families couldn’t reach out to relatives due to cellphone service being down.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex, who flew over the area in a helicopter, expressed “grave concern” over the toll of the flooding.
About 10,500 homes were left without electricity on Sunday, French energy company Enedis said.
In Italy, the body of one person reported missing on Saturday — a French citizen of Italian origin — was found in the Roia River, the ANSA and LaPresse news agencies reported. The second one washed up closer to where the Roia empties into the Mediterranean along Italy’s border with France.
An Italian firefighter was killed on Saturday during a rescue operation in the mountainous northern region of Val d’Aosta. A search team also found a body in the Piedmont region’s Vercelli province, where a man had been swept away by floodwaters.
Italian firefighters also rescued 25 people trapped on the French side of a high mountain pass due to the flooding.
Nicole Winfield in Rome contributed to the story
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