At least 25 people are now known to have died in flash floods near France’s Mediterranean coast.
Several towns in the southeastern department of Var were affected overnight on Tuesday, with homes and businesses flooded. Many of those killed were trapped in their cars as water surged through the streets.
The devastating effects of the flooding have stunned local people.
“I have not stopped crying since yesterday,” one woman sobbed. “I have had this shop for 15 years. I am finished. It is not even paid off yet.”
“I have got nothing left, my neighbour has nothing left,” a man added. “Our work tools have gone. We don’t know what we are going to do. All we have left to work with is our hands.”
Facing the future is now a frightening prospect.
“We have lost everything,” an elderly woman said. “We will have to start all over again from zero.”
Fresh thunderstorms are forecast overnight, raising fears of yet more rain and hail in the stricken region which President Sarkozy will visit next week.
France is still reeling from a ferocious storm and surging tide in February that killed more than 50 people in the southwest.