The region near French-Italian border is battling floods as storm Alex hit the area recently. The storm has caused heavy flooding. The floods have damaged homes and swept away roads. Storm Alex ravaged several villages around Nice on the French Riviera. At least two people were dead and 24 missing in the mountainous region that spans France and Italy after a storm brought torrential rainfall and major flooding on both sides of the border.
Among the missing are two children, aged six and 11, and a shepherd who was washed away by a current alongside his brother who was rescued after managing to grab hold of a branch. Unrelenting rainfall overnight hit levels not seen since 1958 in northern Italy’s Piedmont region, whereas much as two feet of rain fell in a 24 hour period, according to the Italian civil protection agency.
Hundreds of rescue operations were underway. Eleven campers were saved in Vercelli province, where floodwaters hit 20-year highs. And Alpine rescue squads have evacuated by foot seven people who were in houses cut off by flooding at Terme di Valdieri; some had to be carried on stretchers due to the muddy conditions and accumulation of detritus.
On the other side of the border, in southeastern France, almost a year’s average rainfall fell in less than 12 hours in the mountainous area surrounding the city of Nice. French Prime Minister Jean Castex, who flew over the area in a helicopter, confirmed that at least eight people were missing, including two firefighters whose vehicle was carried away by water when the road collapsed during a rescue operation. “I cannot hide our grave concern on the definitive toll,” Castex said.
France is having to battle floods just as it moves to impose lockdown to contain coronavirus. Although French President Emmanuel Macron has said that there would not be any nationwide lockdown. Health Minister Olivier Veran said recently the Paris region was set to be placed on maximum COVID-19 alert from as soon as Monday as cases rise. Veran said the Paris region had passed all three of the government’s criteria for being put on the highest level of alert. In the past 24 hours, the coronavirus infection rate had surpassed 250 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.