Europe storms: Nine killed in flash floods and landslides across France, Greece and Italy

Search continues for potential elevated highway collapse victims

Samuel Osborne
Tuesday 26 November 2019 16:54
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People use a canoe to navigate submerged streets after heavy rainfall hit the Var department overnight in Le Muy, France
People use a canoe to navigate submerged streets after heavy rainfall hit the Var department overnight in Le Muy, France

At least nine people have died after heavy rain brought flash floods and landslides to southern Europe.

Four people died on the French Riviera, including a couple in their 70s whose car was submerged, the administration for the Var region said. Another died after a French rescue boat sank in the Mediterranean and another was found dead in a car.

In Greece, the body of two men believed to be tourists drowned after their moored sailboat was caught in severe weather at the port of Antirio, 155 miles west of Athens.

Two women died when storms hit the country’s eastern Aegean Sea islands late on Monday, state ERT TV said. One of them died when her basement room on Rhodes flooded, while the other drowned on the island of Kos when she went for a swim in stormy seas.

In northern Italy, a woman was found dead after the flooded Bomida river swept away her car. Rescuers were also searching for potential victims after a landslide caused the collapse of an overpass near the city of Savona.

Drivers who witnessed the collapse were able to stop in time. There were no reports of witnesses seeing vehicles fall with the roadway, but the search continued as a precaution.

Firefighter commander Emanuele Gizzi told SKY TG24 Monday that “we still don’t have the certainty that there is absolutely no one” missing.

The collapse of the elevated highway came 15 months after a deadly bridge collapse in Genoa, which killed 43 people and left hundreds homeless.

It has raised fresh concerns about the safety of Italy’s motorways, many of which are viaducts traversing mountainous terrain.

Meanwhile, the level of the Ticino River in the Lombard city of Pavia was continuing to rise, flooding streets by about 15cm and forcing some residents to evacuate.

In France, rivers started receding slowly but many families who evacuated still couldn’t return home. Authorities worked to restore electricity and clear roads of fallen trees and mud.

In Greece, hundreds of homes were flooded following an overnight storm that affected areas west of Athens.

Torrential rain and mudslides caused the closure of the highway linking the Greek capital to the western port city of Patras.

The worst flooding occurred at the seaside resort of Kineta, where mudslides came from a nearby forest fire-damaged hillside. Several dozen people trapped in their cars and in flooded homes were rescued by the Fire Service.

Additional reporting by agencies

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