FRANCE

Last missing person from French Riviera flash floods found alive

Anne-Christine Poujoulat, AFP | Firefighters, wearing wetsuits, walk in Mandelieu-la-Napoule, southern France, on October 5, 2015 after flash floods hit the French Riviera

The last person still missing from flash floods on the French Riviera was found alive on Monday, as the death toll from the tragedy climbed to at least 19.

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Local authorities found the woman, who was living with her husband at a camping ground in the southeastern resort town of Antibes, at a hospital where she had been taken after the flooding.

Some 4,400 homes were still without electricity on Monday afternoon after as many as 70,000 suffered blackouts the previous evening.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who visited the affected zone on Sunday with President François Hollande, told Europe 1 radio on Monday there had been some looting and nine people had been arrested.

“Police intervened very quickly to stop these despicable acts,” he said.

Some 300 police and 543 fire officers were continuing with search and rescue operations across areas affected by the floods, Cazeneuve said.

Torrential rain struck the Alpes-Maritimes region, bordering Italy, on Saturday evening, inundating local towns including Cannes and disrupting transport routes.

Victims included three people killed at a flooded retirement home in the village of Biot, and seven inhabitants of the town of Mandelieu-la-Napoule who had attempted to reach their cars in a garage, local government officials said.

While the more rugged and mountainous regions inland from the Mediterranean are no stranger to flash floods, this latest disaster struck closer to the coastline.

Local authorities revised the provisional death toll up from 17 to 19 on Monday afternoon after two more people were found dead.

Local rail services resumed on Sunday after being suspended overnight. Train services were expected to remain limited for the rest of Monday, while some roads remained blocked.

Hollande said on Sunday the French government would approve natural disaster status for the area at Wednesday’s cabinet meeting and he pledged relief payments to help cover damage within three months.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

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