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France rocked by fatal flash floods

Record rainfall has caused flash floods in a picturesque region of the French Riviera, killing at least 19 people.

It is believed six months of rainfall fell in a matter of days to turn local streets in the Var region of the country into torrents of muddy water, devastating local buildings and infrastructure and shutting down rail links between Toulon and Nice.

At least 12 other people are still unaccounted for following the floods, which left cars piled on top of each other and closed the local Toulon-Hyeres Airport for several hours.

The region is a popular tourist hotspot, famed for its chocolate box village landscapes and rural backdrop. However, the flooding has left many towns and villages resembling war zones, with debris littering the streets and local homes wrecked by surging river water.

Meteo France spokesman Patrick Galois said 400mm of rain had fallen in the hardest-hit area of Arcs, near Draguignan.

“We’ve never seen so much rain in the month of June,” he said.

Galois said the region had experienced six months’ of rainfall in just a matter of days, causing local rivers to burst and spill over into nearby towns and villages.

Local rescue workers said the extent of the devastation means the death toll is likely to rise in the following days as missing people are accounted for.

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