One dead as Spain’s flood crisis worsens

Daniel Sarkar, CNN • Updated 9th August 2019

( CNN ) — Authorities have confirmed one death as flooding in southern Spain continues to rise after heavy rain over the weekend.

The victim, a 79-year-old man who lives in the region of Asturias, was swept away by floodwaters on Sunday, local regional administration officials told CNN.

The death was the only reported victim of the massive flooding event this week, in which more than 11 million cubic meters of water has been dumped on the country, which also impacted neighboring regions.

Overnight, municipal offices, schools and day care centers in two cities were flooded after rivers overflowed following days of heavy rain, the Asturias’ Administrative Council said.

The administration said it was expecting 600 houses, most of them in Ciudad Real, to flood, adding that it would offer free water to residents, using pumps to keep them away from streams.

“We are working 24 hours to provide drinking water to the municipalities affected, with 300,000 liters delivered in Ciudad Real alone,” Jose Maria Delgado of the Asturias’s Water and Floodtide Management Board told CNN.

“We are improving our emergency services in order to handle the situation. We are reinforcing infrastructure and traffic services,” he added.

“It is estimated that there are thousands of homes damaged or destroyed from the rain and flooding in our regions.”

Spain is currently under a state of emergency after heavy rainfall put numerous regions at risk of flooding, with some areas receiving as much as 120 mm (4 inches) of rain between Saturday and Monday.

Shoring up defenses

Earlier this week the government appealed to its citizens to comply with “urgent warnings” about the weather conditions and keep away from flooded areas, urging against driving in flooded areas and swimming.

The move comes a day after the government asked residents in dozens of municipalities to “maintain a high state of alert and avoid at all costs entering the floodplain, especially in the most vulnerable areas.”

“The intensity of the rain and the risk of flooding have been very high in parts of Asturias, Castilla-La Mancha, Valencia, and the Marquesa and Almería regions,” it said.

Emergency services have deployed 200 soldiers to bolster their defenses, deploying water pumps and helicopters.

The government’s Emergency Operations Center (CECER) “calibrates the highest danger levels in the risk maps,” it said in a statement on Monday.

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