Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The cost of the storms

Thousands of homeowners on the Costa Blanca spent much of Sunday cleaning up debris after the storm on Saturday. Roofs had been destroyed, trees felled and many residents suffered power cuts and phone outages for much of the weekend.

Winds on Saturday reached 190km per hour, causing utter chaos. Hospitals reported a number of incidences of carbon monoxide poisoning thought to have been caused by back-up generators being used during power cuts. Many other injuries were sustained from flying debris.

In Orihuela, a brick wall was blown down on top of a row of parked cars while in Torrevieja, one van driver had a lucky escape when a large metal billboard was wrenched out of the ground landed on the back of his van, causing minimal damage.

In Torrevieja town centre, injures were caused by several dislodged roof tiles on Calle Joaquin Chapaprieta. Electricity poles throughout the town were also knocked down and opposite the Habaneras shopping centre, a large telephone mast was ripped from the ground and smashed on the street. Police patrols set blockades up at either end of the street to prevent citizens putting themselves in danger from high voltage cables.

In La Mata, one Spanish resident acted quickly when he saw a large sheet of deadly corrugated iron travelling down the street of its own accord.
Ducking out of the way, he managed to manoeuvre himself to standing on top of the sharp metal to prevent it injuring someone else while he called for help.

Throughout the region residents had satellite dishes and gazebos wrecked and toldos and sun blinds wer torn to pieces.

In Santa Pola, most market stall holders abandoned their stalls and returned to the safety of their homes.

Further north, in Benidorm, a palm tree was uprooted along the promenade, trapping and severely injuring a lady walker.

In Alicante a 42 year old truck driver was seriously injured when his vehicle was overturned by the wind on the A-7 motorway.

Many roads were closed due to fallen trees and trains between Alicante and Murcia suffered delays of up to 70 minutes.

It is believed 12 people were killed in total in Spain, one of whom was killed in this province – a 51 year old El Campello man who died when the wall behind which he was seeking shelter from the wind was blown on top of himself and his nephew, who suffered injuries to his head and leg. Most of those who lost their lives were killed by falling trees or walls.

Clearing up is being made more difficult than in previous years because just as the wind subsides it picks up again. This storm has now raged for four days off and on and shows no sign of abating just yet.

1 comment:

Pete said...

It all seems really dreadful. There's nothing that can derail a country like unusual weather, whether it's snow on Heathrow or a heatwave in Lapland.

I just hope that with all their experience in knowing that you can't beat the sun the Spaniards have also acknowledged that you can't beat the wind and have taken whatever strong shelter they can.

We Brits have sometimes yet to learn that lesson, and time after time fall victim to arrogance.

I hope nobody you know personally suffered too badly, either to themselves or their property. And of course I also hope that the wind calms a little for you.