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Death toll from Spain floods rises to three


People wade through a flooded street as torrential rains hit Orihuela, Spain, September 13, 2019. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

The death toll from torrential rain and floods in southeastern Spain rose to three on Friday after a man drowned when his car became trapped in a tunnel, local authorities said.

The latest tragedy occurred in the city of Almeria when the tunnel was “flooded by a huge amount of water in a few minutes,” Almeria city hall said in a tweet.

A policeman managed to rescue two of the three people in the vehicle, but “one occupant remained inside the car”, Almeria mayor Ramon Fernandez-Pacheco told news radio Cadena Ser.


The victim was a middle-aged man, local emergency services said in a statement.

“A hard and difficult night. Several locations remain on alert for torrential rains. We sadly regret the third fatality in Almeria,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in a tweet.

A 61-year-old man and his 51-year-old sister died on Thursday when their vehicle was swept away as fast-moving waters swamped a road in Caudete, a municipality around 100 kilometres (60 miles) southwest of the port city of Valencia, the emergency services said.

Almeria airport was closed on Friday due to flooding caused by the heavy rain which was making it difficult for passengers and workers to reach it, a spokeswoman for Spanish airports operator AENA said.

Just under one million passengers passed through the facility last year.

Emergency services said about 60 people were rescued early on Friday from a campsite in the Cabo de Gata nature reserve on the coast of the province of Almeria.

Elsewhere the heavy rain which started on Wednesday caused chaos on the roads, cutting public transport and prompting rivers to burst their banks, flooding homes and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people from surrounding areas, officials said.

Footage shown on Spanish television showed cars being swept away by fast-flowing water, flooded car tunnels and one person being evacuated from the roof of a building by a helicopter.

The authorities urged people in the area not to drive and stay home if possible.

Schools across southeastern Spain suspended classes on Friday, as the heavy rains are set to continue. In the region of Valencia alone, where schools were already closed on Thursday, around 536,000 students were affected, according to the regional government.


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