Spain declares disaster-zone status for Madrid, other storm-hit regions

Reuters

Posted at Jan 19 2021 11:08 PM

People stand at a terrace surrounded by snow and accumulated garbage after heavy snowfall in Madrid, Spain on January 15, 2021. Susana Vera, Reuters/file

MADRID - Spain's government on Tuesday classified Madrid and other regions struck by Storm Filomena last week as disaster zones, a move which will trigger emergency subsidies and other support measures.

The storm brought the heaviest snowfall in decades and caused at least 1.4 billion euros ($1.70 billion) in damage to the Spanish capital, according to a preliminary estimate from the mayor's office, though opposition parties have disputed that number.

Fallen trees and snowdrifts, which hardened into ice blocks during the ensuing cold snap, blocked roads and train lines, cutting off supplies to Madrid and leaving supermarket shelves empty.

A mammoth cleanup effort involving thousands of police, firemen and military personnel has restored some degree of normality to the city and most public transport has been restored.

But many roads have yet to be cleared and the regional government warned rains predicted for Wednesday are likely to bring floods and further chaos. 

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