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In the hinterland of Nice, the flood toll has increased with the discovery of three new bodies in the valleys where, in the sounds of helicopters, three slogans resonated: search for the missing, supply the inhabitants and clear the roads.
Flooding from Storm Alex have left four dead and eight confirmed missing in the Alpes-Maritimes, where ten other people are believed to be missing.
After the discovery of a man in his car on Sunday in Saint-Martin-Vésubie, a second body was found Monday, October 5 in this town, one of the most affected by torrential rains and floods on Friday. Another victim was discovered a little lower in the Vésubie valley, in Lantosque, and another in the Var plain at the level of a bridge spanning the river in the town of Colomars, said the prefecture of the Alps- Maritimes, confirming information from Nice-Matin.
In Vésubie, a convoy brought essential products, water, toilet paper, medicines and baby food on Monday. And shovels and wheelbarrows for the rubble. In Roquebillière, where a retired couple was taken to the roof of their house, residents note their needs on a board in front of the town hall. The water is no longer drinkable and electricity is still lacking in the old village.
A landscape of “bombardment”
In the torrential rains on Friday, entire houses were shattered, asphalt roads were crushed, bridges swallowed up and many amenities destroyed. A landscape of “bombardment”, in the words of prefect Bernard Gonzalez.
“The priority is to evacuate people who want to leave this theater of war in which they have been living for two days,” he added. Monday evening, 757 people had been brought to safety, including 428 by helicopter.
In the Roya valley on the border with Italy, it is even the army that was sent. “We are there to lend a hand in addition to firefighters, civil security and all local actors, because we are trained for this type of mission,” says Lieutenant Julien, of the 1st foreign engineering regiment of Laudun L’Ardoise in the Gard, which continues after an identical mission during recent floods in the Gard.
Once the road has been cleared, the hardest part is yet to come. Because the main axis is nothing more than a series of dotted lines, broken in several places, in particular before and after the village of Fontan, accessible only on foot like Saorge and Tende. “In Fontan, they found a generator and they have a common pot for food,” says the deputy for the constituency, Alexandra Valetta-Ardisson. There is also an urgent need to restore telephone networks and electricity with Enedis agents.
Victims in Italy
In addition to the 4 victims found in France, torrential rains on Friday also killed two people in Italy a few hundred kilometers from Nice, in the Aosta Valley and Piedmont. Doubt also surrounded the case of a man found in Ventimiglia, but he had not yet been formally identified Monday evening by the French authorities as a victim of the Roya valley.
The Italian authorities also discovered five bodies on the coast of Liguria, near France. But according to the prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes, these bodies, including several in a state of “great decomposition”, “must very probably correspond” to the coffins carried away in the floods of French cemeteries.
Emmanuel Macron is expected in the middle of the week in the disaster area, announced the entourage of the head of state. Locally, we are already organizing for reconstruction. The council of mayors of the Nice metropolis has decided to create an emergency fund for the affected municipalities of 20 million euros.
Finally, mountain activities were banned until Sunday in the Alpes-Maritimes, to allow relief efforts to focus on the aftermath of the disaster.