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Hollande declares state of natural disaster after flooding

A man wades through the flood water Credit: Reuters

President Francois Holland has declared a state of "natural disaster" after violent storms caused flash flooding in the French Riviera leaving 16 dead and three missing.

Three elderly people drowned when their retirement home flooded.

Others were caught in underground carparks and under bridges and were unable to escape the rising floodwaters as the river Brague burst its banks.

President Francois Hollande paid an emergency visit to the region to promise government aid for victims.

A submerged car caught in the floodwater Credit: Reuters

Around 500 people, many of them British and Danish tourists, were stranded at Nice airport overnight after the equivalent of two months' of rain poured down on the popular tourist region in just two hours.

Nice's mayor's office estimated the city had received 10 percent of its average annual rainfall in the past two days alone.