In Spanish government has declared the southern town of Valdepenas and its surrounding area a disaster zone after Sunday's (1 July) flash flood.
In Spanish government has declared the southern town of Valdepenas and its surrounding area a disaster zone after Sunday's (1 July) flash flood. At least 24 people died in the churning waters that battered the village -- and more than 50 others were injured.
SYNOPSIS: At least one hundred houses were reduced to rubble in the town's worst floods since 1877. The wall of water struck the area after seven hours of violent storm, climaxed by a heavy torrent of rain. The floodwater rose to nearly three metres (ten feet) at some points, and carried heavy trucks, rocks, homes -- and people -- before it.
Viewing the scene a few hours afterwards, Spain's Public Works Minister, Jesus Sancho Rof, told reporters it was a catastrophe of 'incredible dimensions'.
Rescue workers spent much of Monday (2 July) searching the rubble of Valdepenas for victims. Most of the dead already identified were old age pensioners...but two baby girls also died. The floods cut off electricity supplies and there were fears the water supply could be contaminated by the bodies of drowned animals still floating in the receding waters.
The work of clearing the debris is expected to take some days and the official death toll could rise as more buildings are checked.
Property damage is estimated to total at least one billion pesetas (15 million U.S. dollars). Many families are now homeless and it will be some time before houses can be rebuilt. But the full cost of the flooding cannot yet be assessed...for Valdepenas depends on wine-growing for its livelihood and this year there will now be no harvest.