France, Italy battered by heavy floods caused by storm Alex; at least 8 missing, 2 dead

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On Sunday, French authorities deployed around 1,000 firefighters, four military helicopters and soldiers to help search at least eight people still missing in a mountainous region in the southeast after devastating floods. Storm Alex killed at least two people in neighboring Italy.

Flood waters washed away homes and destroyed roads and bridges surrounding the city of Nice on the French Riviera after an average of nearly a year of rainfall in less than 12 hours. The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, said more than 100 houses had been destroyed or badly damaged.

Rescuers also provided emergency aid, including food and water, to people in remote villages on Sunday.

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Among those missing in France are two firefighters whose vehicle was swept away by a torrent when a road collapsed south of the village of Saint-Martin-Vesubie. The authorities fear more victims because many families could not reach their relatives due to the breakdown of cell phone services.

In this image made available on Sunday, October 4, 2020, a fire brigade helicopter flies over a flood in the town of Ornavasso, in the northern Italian region of Piedmont. (Firefighter Vigili del Fuoco via AP)

French Prime Minister Jean Castex, who flew over the area in a helicopter, expressed his “deep concern” at the flood toll.

“As I speak, the priority is tracing the victims, providing supplies and accommodation to those affected and restoring communications,” Castex said at a press conference, according to The Weather. Channel.

“All my thoughts to the victims of Storm Alex, to their loved ones. Everywhere, the State is alongside elected officials to help the French. Together, we will overcome this ordeal, ”French President Emmanuel Macron said on Twitter on Saturday. “An immense gratitude to the firefighters, the military, the police and all the forces engaged in the field.”

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About 10,500 homes were without power on Sunday, French energy company Enedis said.

In Italy, a firefighter was killed during a rescue operation in the mountainous region of northern Valle d’Aosta. A search team also found a body in the province of Vercelli, in the Piedmont region, where a man in his 30s died after his car was washed away by flood waters.

Italian firefighters also rescued 25 people trapped on the French side of a high mountain pass due to flooding. Among those rescued from the Col de Tende in the Alps were several German tourists.

In this image made available on Sunday, October 4, 2020, firefighters evacuate people from flooding in the town of Ornavasso, in the northern Italian region of Piedmont. (Firefighter Vigili del Fuoco via AP)

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The city of Venice was protected by its flood barrier system and remained unaffected by water damage after suffering severe storms in August, the BBC reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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