Two dead and three missing after heavy rains in Spain

Two dead and three missing after heavy rains in Spain

After an unprecedented drought for months, heavy rains fell on Spain, killing two people and leaving three missing, while a ten-year-old boy managed to escape from drowning by climbing a tree.

These weather conditions, which prevailed in most parts of Spain over the weekend, particularly affected the regions of Madrid and Castilla-La Mancha (central), where rain fell on Sunday night and Monday.

The president of the Castile-La Mancha region, Emiliano García Peg, announced Monday morning on social media that “two people were killed in the province of Toledo” in the regions of Casarrubios del Monte and Pargas. He did not provide details about the circumstances of death.

A Civil Guard spokesman told AFP that search operations were still underway near Toledo to find "a woman who went missing after the (river) level rose in Valmojado," while a helicopter was sent to rescue people who had taken refuge on the roofs of their homes.

In the neighboring Madrid area, an operation was underway to search for a man missing after he was swept away in a river overnight in his car in the town of Aldea del Fresno.

"We are searching the river to try to locate the car," Madrid region emergency services spokesman Javier Chevet told public television.

Authorities said that his ten-year-old son, who was in the car with him, managed to cling to a tree. His mother and sister were rescued from the car earlier.

“The poor (child) spent the night in the tree,” said District President Isabel Diaz Ayuso during her visit to Aldea del Fresno, one of the areas most affected by these bad weather conditions.

According to an Agence France-Presse photographer at the scene, several bridges collapsed in this town located west of the Spanish capital, and the river torrents swept away many cars.

The Civil Guard also stated that it was also searching for an 83-year-old man who was “swept away by the current” in the neighboring town of Villamanta.

On Monday morning, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez issued a “call to male and female citizens to exercise caution.”

In the affected areas, many roads were closed. Rail traffic, which was temporarily halted on Sunday, continued to witness disturbances, especially between Madrid and Andalusia and on the Mediterranean coast.
In Madrid, these heavy rains also led to the temporary closure of several metro lines.
Although the intensity of rain decreased somewhat on Monday, the National Meteorological Agency kept seven regions under a state of alert, including Madrid, Castilla-La Mancha, Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and the Basque Country.

The Madrid authorities recommended that the region's seven million residents work remotely and avoid unnecessary movement in the capital, whose outlets were crowded on Monday morning.

On Sunday, Madrid residents received warnings on their mobile phones with a strong audio signal, which is unprecedented in Spain, urging them to stay in their homes.

Shevit said on Monday in response to the criticism raised by this audio message, "We should feel grateful that there is an option to communicate with citizens effectively in emergency situations... so that they can apply the necessary measures."

Spain, the country on the front lines in terms of global warming, considers 75% of its land to be threatened by desertification. It regularly witnesses heavy rains at the end of summer and fall, which are absorbed by the ground with difficulty and cause river levels to rise.

This phenomenon, which meteorologists call “Dana” (an isolated depression at high levels), sometimes leads to serious consequences. In 2018, 13 people died on the Balearic island of Mallorca.