Over 1.5bn euros damage in Alicante area alone as last week's storm affects a swathe of Spain

Aerial view of Dolores, a village between Elche and Orihuela (Alicante).
Aerial view of Dolores, a village between Elche and Orihuela (Alicante). / MANUEL LORENZO / EFE
  • Worst hit was the eastern part of the country, from Almeria northwards towards Valencia, where in total six people died

Images of people wading through water, cars being swept away and flooded countryside made international headline news this week as the Dana weather phenomenon wended its erratic way across large parts of Spain.

The British government went as far as to warn tourists to be aware of the Dana, also known as the 'gota fría' (cold drop), and the destruction its heavy rain was leaving in its wake. At one point last Saturday, 21 provinces had an active severe weather warning in place, including most of Andalucía.

The most affected areas were the eastern coastal provinces, stretching from Castellón in the Valencia region through the Costa Blanca and Murcia to normally bone-dry Almeria.

In Albacete province a brother and sister were swept away in their car and a man died, trapped in his vehicle in rising water in a tunnel in Almeria. In total six people were killed in the rains over the last week.

Last Saturday morning (14 September) Pedro Sánchez, acting prime minister, flew over affected areas promising immediate aid. One of the hardest hit towns, which Sánchez visited, was Orihuela, in the Vega Baja area of Alicante province. Here the Segura river burst its banks and the damage was estimated by the regional government as 1.5 billion euros alone.

Ontiyent, in neighbouring Valencia province, also suffered badly as the Clariano river overflowed. Early analysis suggested that up to 30 per cent of the flooded homes in one part of town were now uninhabitable.

Both the Valencia regional government and national government have continued to extend the level of support being offered to affected areas in this eastern region of the country over the week.

Agriculture is one of the biggest sectors of the economy that has been hit. In Alicante province, the young farmers' association has said that 56,000 hectares of crops have been lost with a value of 550 million euros.

The rain also affected tourism, with beach resorts reporting cancellations and people heading home early.

The erratic heavy rain spread northwards and, on Tuesday night, Valladolid in Castile saw a record-breaking amount for the city.