Floods resulting from record rains in mountainous regions of France and Italy have killed two people in Italy and at least 24 people are missing in both countries, authorities said on Saturday.
The storm, which hit southeastern France and northern Italy overnight caused massive flooding on both sides of the border, damaging homes, destroying bridges, blocking roads and isolating communities.
In Italy, a firefighter was killed during a rescue operation in the mountainous region north of the Aosta Valley. Another body was found in Vercelli province, near where a man was swept away by floodwaters Friday night.
Authorities are looking for 16 missing people in the Piedmont region, most of whom, according to civil protection authorities, were driving on the Col de Tende mountainous route between France and Italy.
This includes two people from Germany driving with their grandchildren, aged 11 and 6, and a couple of brothers returning from France.
A man was reportedly swept away by an overflowing river after getting out of his car in Vercelli province.
According to Italian civil protection authorities in northern Italy’s Piedmont region, where 630mm of rain fell in 24 hours, incessant nocturnal rainfall reached record high since 1958.
Two brothers were swept away by the flood while tending animals near the French border. One brother managed to grab a tree and was rescued while the French authorities looked for his brother.
Eleven campers were rescued in Vercelli province, where flooding has reached its highest point in 20 years.
Alpine rescue teams on foot evacuated seven people who were in houses cut off by flooding in Terme di Valdieri. Some had to be carried on stretchers due to muddy conditions and piles of debris.