The storm was still in its last throes when municipal workers and beach bar workers all along the Costa del Sol were already working on the ground to try and restore some normality to the coastline.
Thousands of people are working against the clock so that the beaches and businesses will be ready to receive tourists ahead of the Easter holiday that marks the start of the holiday high season.
The councillor for beaches in the Malaga city, Teresa Porras, visited the work in progress in the Guadalmar area on Wednesday and assured that the cleaning operation will be completed before the start of Easter. A special task force made up of 101 Limasam cleaning service workers and 37 machines has been pressed into action.
With little time to remove all the sand, rocks and reeds, Porras has demanded more municipal powers from the Government regarding the beaches. Specifically, she asked that the council be allowed to carry out small works, such as earthworks, to avoid damage, as far as possible.
Porras highlighted that much of the damage would have been avoided if the work had been carried out to lower the riverbank wall and remove the sand that was already accumulated.
Marbella’s town council has contracted emergency works worth one million euros, to which must be added the work of all the municipal operational services. “There are seven local companies that are working on different beaches because we have suffered damage along the entire coastline, from Lindavista in San Pedro Alcántara to Costabella,” explained the mayor, Ángeles Muñoz. All the municipal operational services and beach maintenance staff are also involved. A company has also been contracted to repair the water and electricity supplies in all affected municipal facilities, with six teams working simultaneously.
In addition, heavy machinery will be working every day to clear the beaches. The mayor promised to make "every necessary effort so that the beaches and the coast are ready to make the season a success", in view of the good hotel occupancy rate that is expected for Easter.
"Everyone who thought of coming to Marbella can do so with complete peace of mind. The town will return to normality in record time and that is the commitment that I want to make publicly, and that I made with almost a hundred business owners who work the beach,” said Muñoz.
Although a financial assessment of the total amount of storm damage has not yet been made, Estepona town council is also carrying out special beach cleaning works, with the same plan that was put into operation last week after the heavy rains.
The main objective will once again be the removal of the reeds and debris that have been deposited on the sands after being carried there by the rivers and streams. There will be morning and afternoon shifts, and also during the weekend, along with six tractors, six beach cleaning machines and two trailer vehicles.
Vélez-Málaga, Rincón de la Victoria, Nerja, Torrox and Algarrobo councils have deployed all available workers to try to repair the damage caused by the waves, and have once again demanded permanent "solutions" from the Coastal Board, including groynes, rigid structures built perpendicularly from the shore interrupting water flow and limiting the movement of sand.
In Vélez-Málaga there are around fifty staff deployed along the 22 kilometres of its coastline, both from the beaches and environment departments and from the municipal cleaning company Emvipsa.
In Rincón de la Victoria, two beach-cleaning machines and twenty workers have been deployed to restore normality to the nine kilometres of the coastline. In Torrox there are 15 operators, with three tractors and the support of Civil Protection volunteers.
To all these crews we must add the hundreds of workers at beach bars that have been damaged, who are working against the clock to be able to open their businesses to the public and to be able to do good trade this Easter, which will be the first almost normal one since the start of the pandemic.
Eugenio Cabezas, Joaquina Dueñas and Esther Gómez have contributed to this report.