1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Several missing as floods sweep France, Italy

October 3, 2020

Rescuers are searching for people reported missing in deadly floods which hit border regions of northern Italy and southern France. Six German trekkers remain unaccounted for, and many homes have been destroyed.

Flood waters surge under a partly collapsed bridge in Saint-Martin-Versubie
Image: Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images

An Italian fireman died and at least 19 people were unaccounted for in France and Italy on Saturday after floodwaters tore through border regions. The storm, dubbed Alex, prompted heavy flooding that swept away roads and damaged homes, according to regional authorities.

The 53-year-old volunteer firefighter was killed in Italy after being struck by a falling tree in the Valle d'Aosta region, while three people in a van were swept away by flooding in Val Roya on the Italian border with France.

Six German trekkers were among the missing after failing to return from a mountain trip in the northern Italian province of Cuneo.

A surging river in the Italian commune of Limone Piemonte
Rivers broke their banks in the Italian regions of Liguria and PiedmontImage: Stringer/ANSA/AFP/Getty Images

Locals warned to stay indoors

Residents near the coastal city of Nice were urged to stay indoors as a storm dumped 450 millimeters (17.7 inches) of rain over 24 hours in some areas, Meteo France reported.  Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi described the fallout of the storm as something he has "never seen before."

"The roads and about 100 houses were swept away or partially destroyed," he told French news channel BFM.

French President Emmanuel Macron thanked the rescuers deployed in the field.

"Together we will get through this ordeal," he wrote on Twitter.

Communities in mountainous terrain close to the Italian border were worst affected by flooding.

Houses and a bridge were swept away by the floodwaters. Roads to several villages were also cut, and thousands of households across the southeast were without power.

Read moreFlooding peaks in Paris amid worst rains in 50 years

Floodwaters surge around a house in Roquebilliere
Surging waters in the Vesubie River pulled houses from their foundations in Roquebilliere in France's southern Alps Image: Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images
A house destroyed by floodwaters in France
Image: Nicolas Tucat/AFP/Getty Images

Paris sending reinforcements

French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Twitter that he would travel to the affected Alpes-Maritimes department as soon as it was possible to do so.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said the government would send additional helicopters and firefighters to the region to help in the search efforts.

Around 850 emergency workers have been deployed to help in rescue and recovery efforts.

nm,jsi/dj (AFP, Reuters, dpa)