Southeast Spain hit by worst storms on record, 2 dead

Remigio Civitarese
Settembre 13, 2019

Two siblings died on Thursday (Sept 12) when floodwaters caused by torrential rain dragged their vehicle and flipped it over in eastern Spain, local emergency services said, as authorities warned residents to brace for further storms across large parts of the country.

The regional emergency service said a 51-year-old woman and her 61-year-old brother were found dead inside an overturned vehicle that floodwaters washed away in Caudete, about 100km (60 miles) south of Valencia, Spanish private news agency Europa Press reported.

Officials had initially said the victims were an elderly wife and husband but later corrected themselves. A helicopter winched a third person to safety. Four police officers were injured in the rescue operation.

The Spanish weather service AEMET classified the region as being "at extreme risk" from torrential downpours.

From Thursday, southern parts of the country such as Alicante and Murcia or to the Balearic Islands including Ibiza and Majorca are expected to be faced with downpours, gales and storms.

Ontinyent mayor Jorge Rodríguez said the town had endured its heaviest rainfall on record, with more than 400mm (15in) of rain falling by Thursday afternoon. In the neighbouring Valencia region, at least two rivers burst their banks, forcing the evacuation of dozens of people.

He said the town would ask the national government to declare a catastrophe in the area, which would entitle local people to emergency aid and long-term financial help to rebuild.

Nearby, sandy-colored water surged over the top of the Pantano de Almansa reservoir and raged down its spillway.

In Albacete, southwest of Valencia, 13 people were rescued from cars or from the roofs of buildings, emergency services told Europa Press.

The Foreign Office is warning that tourists may experience flash floods in the region, which could cause disruption and delays to transport services.

Local authorities recommended people stay in their homes in the worst-affected areas, where the weather interrupted traffic on roads and railways and at ports.

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