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Diversions on Sunday due to work to clear the area affected by floods on the A-92 motorway. Fermín Rodríguez
Granada province mops up after weekend rain and hail storm that flooded homes and roads and left one boy dead
Weather

Granada province mops up after weekend rain and hail storm that flooded homes and roads and left one boy dead

Residents in the towns of Cijuela, Trasmulas, Valderrubio and Láchar are still assessing the damage caused by just one hour of heavy rain

José Antonio Muñoz

Granada

Monday, 22 April 2024, 13:08

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It was 5pm Saturday on 20 April when Víctor Rivas, a hairdresser from Trasmulas in Granada province, heard thunder. Then he began to hear the rain getting heavier and heavier until it started to pour into his hairdressing salon, quickly turning the floor into a stream.

"You can imagine all the equipment I have is electric, so the danger of electrocution was huge," Victor said. Soon, the drains were unable to cope with the amount of water coming down the street, so they had to wait for the storm to subside before they could start cleaning up. Less than 24 hours later, Victor's hairdressing salon looked as if nothing had happened, but Victor himself hasn't recovered from the shock.

Just 50 metres from the salon, Victor estimated that the river reached a height of four metres and trees were being washed away. "We could hear the trees breaking and falling into the river", he says, adding that at one point they stood and watched as a refrigerator, which had probably been dumped, floated by.

One of the houses affected by the storm in Valderrubio.
One of the houses affected by the storm in Valderrubio. Fermin Rodriguez

The town's fountain and old washing area was also flooded. "First the fountain was clogged, then the basins, then the water rose up the columns, then it reached the roof. Suddenly, the water broke the columns and destroyed the roof, which went down the ravine," said Rivas.

Neighbouring houses were not damaged but the access road to the motorway was closed leaving the village cut off. There were no casualties in Trasmulas but an eight-year-old boy in nearby Pinos Puente was killed in a road accident. According to the mayor of Pinos Puente - the municipality to which Trasmulas belongs - the boy was well known in the area and played for the local football team.

The president of the provincial authority, the Diputación de Granada, Francisco Rodríguez, visited the four places most affected by the storms on Sunday. He walked through Trasmulas, Cijuela and Valderrubio and also visited Láchar.

The Junta de Andalucía's representative for public works, Rocío Díaz, visited the A-92 motorway in the early hours of Sunday morning to assess the damage and to see how traffic was gradually getting back to normal. "These are one-off events," Granados said.

"The Junta will make every effort to get the situation back to normal as soon as possible as this road is the backbone of the community, but there is no infrastructure capable of sustaining nature when it manifests itself in full force," he added.

Drains collapsed

Francisco Rodríguez's tour began early on Sunday morning in Cijuela, where he was able to see first-hand the consequences of the storm on homes in the village. "We have been able to verify the inability of the drains in the streets to collect rainwater, and these have collapsed, flooding many basements," said the president of the Diputación.

Housing projects in some of the towns and villages in the area grew chaotically during the construction boom of the 2000s. The most common type of housing in the area have two floors and a semi-basement and both rainwater and sewage infrastructures are not prepared for eventualities like Saturday afternoon's storm.

When the pipes burst the water entering buildings from above is joined by water coming up from the drains below, as SUR's sister newspaper Ideal was able to verify with Rodríguez at the home of Eva, a resident of Valderrubio.

Together with the mayor of the town, Antonio García, he was able to see how brown water was still pouring out of a drain and he helped the family and neighbours with the clean-up operation.

Many boxes of furniture and other belongings had to be thrown away and while he was there Rodríguez announced an aid package to help clean up the affected municipalities. "We will provide the means at our disposal to ensure that the situation is reversed as soon as possible," he said.

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