Flash floods claim three lives in southern France
Heavy rain triggered flash floods in the mountains above France's southern Cote d'Azur region on Tuesday, killing three people, officials said.
Water levels rose by several metres within a short space of time, preventing many from fleeing to higher ground and forcing them to seek shelter on the roofs of their homes.
Two people were killed in the town of Draguignan and a woman in Luc. Her body was left to float in the water raging through the town as rescue workers deemed the currents too strong to attempt a recovery.
"We haven't seen anything like this in a decade," said the top official for the Var department, Hugues Parant, noting that 180 millimetres (seven inches) of rain had fallen within 12 hours.
The rising water also trapped a high speed train travelling from the southern city of Nice to Lille in the north at Luc with 300 passengers on board.
More than 400 reinforcements were drafted in from other regions to assist rescue workers, who were called out over 600 times during the day.
Some 175,000 homes in the region have lost power.
© 2010 AFP