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French President Francois Hollande offers condolences to families of 13 victims who died in violent storms

NewsBy Neil Fetherston
French President Francois Hollande offers condolences to families of 13 victims who died in violent storms

French President Francois Hollande thanked rescuers and politicians for their work so far, and offered condolences to the families of the 13 victims who died in violent storms and flooding along the French Riviera.

A total of 13 people were killed  including three who drowned in a retirement home when a river broke its banks.

Five others are believed to have died as they sought to park their cars under shelter, according to local authorities.

Emergency responders said three others drowned in their car when it became stuck inside a tunnel.

Heavy flooding along the Cote d'Azur, in France's southeast, saw the River Brague burst its banks close to the city of Antibes and sent deadly waves crashing into the nearby home for the elderly.

A woman in her 60s also died on the street in the resort city of Cannes when huge storms hit the region lastnight, sending water and debris coursing down submerged roads in the famous festival town and in its glamorous neighbour, Nice.

Another victim was found dead at an Antibes campsite, according to local officials.

"Some cars were carried off into the sea," said Cannes Mayor Davis Lisnard, describing water levels reaching halfway up car doors and trees left uprooted on the city's main drag.

"We have rescued a lot of people, and we must now be vigilant against looting," he added, announcing that an emergency plan was now in effect to mobilise police, emergency responders and municipal services.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve was due to visit the affected area this morning to take stock of rescue efforts, his spokesman said.