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In Spain, toll rises to nine dead as Storm Gloria ebbs

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Water from a broken pipe on a damaged bridge flows into the Ter flooded river in Angles, near Girona, on January 23, 2020, as storm Gloria batters Spanish eastern coast. – The death toll from a storm that has lashed Spain with strong winds and heavy snow has risen to seven, while four people were missing, officials said. Gale-force winds and huge waves have smashed into seafront towns, damaging many shops and restaurants, wrecking beach facilities and flooding some streets in the east of the country. (Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP)

The death toll from a violent storm which has wrought havoc on huge swathes of Spain’s eastern and southern coastline rose to nine on Thursday as rescuers pressed the hunt for at least five missing people.

The latest death was that of a man whose body was found in a flooded river near Jorba, some 70 kilometres (45 miles) northwest of Barcelona, the emergency services said.

Rescuers in Catalonia had been searching for a missing person in the same area but said it was too early to confirm if it was him.

Catalan rescuers had late on Wednesday found another body of a man who died after falling into the water in Palamos, a port town about 100 kilometres up the coast from Barcelona.

They are also searching for a man who went missing from a merchant ship in the same area, as well as a person in Cadaques near the French border.

Earlier on Thursday, regional officials confirmed the death of a 75-year-old woman whose house collapsed because of heavy rain in Alcoi, a town in the eastern Alicante region.

Storm Gloria hit the region on Sunday, bringing strong winds, torrential rains and heavy snow, battering Spain’s southern and eastern flanks before moving north.

Gale-force winds and huge waves smashed into seafront towns, with dramatic images showing massive flooding that has damaged shops, houses and restaurants.

National weather agency Aemet had on Wednesday said the storm was starting to abate although it kept Catalonia and the Balearic Islands on alert.

As the storm eased, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez was on Thursday visiting some of the worst-hit areas, overflying parts of Catalonia before heading to the Balearic Islands which on Tuesday were hit by record waves, the port authority said.

Rescuers on the islands are still searching for three people, including a 25-year-old Briton who went missing on a beach in northern Ibiza, and a 27-year-old Spaniard who disappeared in Mallorca while practising canyoning — a mix of rappelling, climbing and water sliding through deep gorges.

Rescuers had found three other bodies on Wednesday, including that of a 67-year-old man who went missing in his car near the southeastern resort town of Benidom.

They also found two bodies in the southern Andalusia region, one of a 77-year-old man who died when a greenhouse collapsed on him in a hailstorm in Nijar as well as that of a homeless man who died of hypothermia.


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