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Toll Rises in Spain's Flooding

Thousands have been rescued by helicopters and boats
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 15, 2019 1:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – Record rainfall claimed two more lives in southeastern Spain as it caused widespread flooding, raising the overall death toll to six from the storms, authorities said Saturday. Emergency rescue workers saved thousands of people during the storm that slammed into the Mediterranean coastal regions of Valencia, Murcia and eastern Andalusia, the AP reports. Local authorities said some towns and cities reported their heaviest rainfall on record. The downpour forced the closure of airports in Almeria and Murcia as well as intercity train lines, major roads, and schools. A fifth victim was found late Friday by police in the village of Redován. News agency Europa Press reported that police said the 58-year-old man was swept away by rushing waters when he got out of his vehicle.

A sixth victim was confirmed Saturday — a 41-year-old man in the town of Orihuela, where the Segura River overflowed its banks on Friday. Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez flew over the devastated areas in a helicopter. "All my warmth and solidarity for the people affected by the heavy rains," Sánchez wrote on Twitter. "Together, we will deploy all our resources and aid to help the population and return things to normal." The storms are a yearly metrological phenomenon, but they have been particularly fierce this fall, turning fields into lakes and roads into surging rivers of mud that sweep away everything in their path. There were harrowing escapes. Some residents had to be airlifted by helicopter from the rooftops of buildings. Officials said 3,500 people had been rescued.

(Read more flooding stories.)

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