ONE day last week, the concerns were all about drought. Less than three days later, the rains we thought would ease a problem brought terror to Southern Spain.
So far, 11 people – including a 52-year-old British expat and a nine-year-old girl – lost their lives across Andalucia, Almeria and Murcia as thousands battled to escape the flash floods which made headlines around the world.
Diana Dudas was reported missing in the town of Vera, Almeria, after the rains hit the area. She had lived in the area for several years, had a Spanish husband and ran a hairdressers and holistic therapy shop in the town. Five of the dead are from Murcia Province, three Almeria and two Malaga, where the first victim of the floods, a woman in her 80s from Alora, was found on Friday.
Five people who were reported missing have been found alive. The flooding disrupted road and rail travel with many lines and bridges impassable. Now those who fled the devastation have returned to their homes to count the cost of the damage, clearing up the mess with the help of local authority workers.
Elsewhere, a tornado swept through a fairground in the main square of Gandia in Valencia, injuring 35 workers on the temporary funfair as a Ferris wheel was flattened and other rides damaged.
Two cargo ships also ran aground and the ports of Valencia and Sagunto were temporarily closed on Saturday. As the heaviest storms started on Friday, hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes in the Andalucia and Murcia regions, with Almeria and Malaga among the hardest-hit provinces. The woman in her 80s died in Alora at her home in the El Puente neighbourhood due to the river overflowing.
Another elderly woman died in La Inmaculada Hospital in Huercal Overa after being evacuated by Maritime Rescue helicopter in a residential area of Vera Playa (Almeria). The heavy rains in the area reached 120 litres per square metre.
The bodies of a man and woman were found together in their car in Cuevas del Almanzora (Almeria). A man who was in a critical condition passed away in the afternoon during the transfer by helicopter to Vera by Maritime Lifeguards to La Inmaculada Hospital in Huercal Overa.
Two others, a man of around 71, and his wife, both from Aguilas but who have a property in the area, were found inside their vehicle which had been covered in mud in Guazamara Rambla, Cuevas del Almanzora at around 8.50pm.
These are believed to be the worst floods in the Almeria region since 1986 when floods caused three deaths The road from Bedar to Serena, below La Fuente, was cut off by flooding as a result of torrential rain which started in the early hours of Friday morning and continued on and off throughout the day. The Club Itica Vera stables were flooded and one of their seven horses has disappeared. A shepherd has been left destitute after his 200 sheep were swept away in the floods.