Violent storms have killed at least five people in Spain, causing chaos and extensive property damage. In the midst of suffering, however, the rescue of a little boy brought some comfort. Many media spoke unanimously of a "miracle". The ten-year-old was found on a tree in the west of the Madrid region around eight in the morning on Monday after spending the whole night there in heavy rain and hurricane gusts, the regional emergency service said.
According to the authorities, the boy fled up the tree on Sunday evening. His family's car had previously been swept away by the water masses of the Alberche River, which burst its banks not far from the village of Aldea del Fresno. The father, who was behind the wheel, was still missing on Monday. The mother and sister could have saved themselves on their own, it said. The ten-year-old was hypothermic by a finca attendant and accidentally discovered with various injuries to his body. He only said to his rescuer "Thank you, thank you, thank you" over and over again, the newspaper "El País" reported, citing the man.
The water was a 73-year-old up to her neck
The story of a pensioner who was rescued by two police officers at night in Buenache de Alarcón in the province of Cuenca when she "was up to her neck in water" and could not leave her house, as she was crying on Spanish TV, also provided moving moments broadcaster RTVE told. "I would be dead and buried now (...) I don't know how to say thank you," said 73-year-old Felicia as RTVE introduced her to her two rescuers.
However, there was no rescue for the three men whose bodies were recovered on Monday in the province of Toledo, southeast of Madrid, according to the government of the Castile-La Mancha region. One of the victims died inside a vehicle in the municipality of Bargas. In the village of Casarrubios del Monte, a 20-year-old was found dead in a garage elevator. And in the municipality of Camarena, a 50-year-old was found lifeless in a stream.
Already on Saturday, two men aged 31 and 34 fell into the torrential water and drowned while visiting a gorge in Zaragoza in north-eastern Spain. On Monday, at least two other people - an 83-year-old man and a younger woman - were missing in addition to the father of the rescued ten-year-old.
Many passengers had to stay overnight in train stations
Large parts of Spain were hit by storms with heavy rain, hurricane gusts, lightning strikes and hail on Saturday and Sunday. There were many flight delays. In many places, rail traffic was stopped. Hundreds of passengers therefore had to involuntarily spend the night in train stations in Madrid, Málaga and other cities on Monday night.
Dozens of roads have been closed and parks closed. Countless houses, basements, garages and underpasses were flooded with water and mud. Parts of the facade and roof tiles fell onto the streets and trees were uprooted. Agricultural land has been severely affected in various regions.
For the almost 10,000 inhabitants of the Catalan municipality of Alcanar, there was even a ban on going out for several hours on Sunday due to the dangerous flooding. According to the weather service, 215 liters of rain per square meter fell there in just 24 hours. The situation normalized only slowly on Monday. In Madrid, for example, subway and car traffic were still significantly affected. The popular holiday island of Mallorca was largely spared.
In view of the necessary reconstruction, the regions of Madrid and Castile-La Macha have now applied to the central government to be declared a disaster area in order to receive state aid. Estimates of the amount of damage were initially not available.