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AFRICA

Queen Sofía struts her stuff for Africa cause

Queen Sofía of Spain has praised the work of Spanish voluntary workers on her visit to Mozambique, where she even had a go at the African country’s traditional dance.

Queen Sofía struts her stuff for Africa cause
Queen Sofía gets ready to dance in front of a crowd of Mozambican locals. Photo: Youtube

“They’re the best,” said the monarch as she referred to Spanish volunteers in Africa.

ABC newspaper reported that Queen Sofía arrived in the Mozambican capital Maputo on Wednesday and was clearly moved by the exemplary work the Red Cross has been doing in the emerging African nation.

Spanish Red Cross volunteers have been helping some of the 400,000 people who were affected by the floods that struck the southeastern African nation last July.

The Spanish Queen met 79-year-old Sister Carmen, a missionary who’s been in Mozambique for 29 years.

Sister Carmen has taken 45 girls who were made orphans by the floods under her wing.

“All we want is for them to have a life”, Carmen told Queen Sofía.

“The best way to be happy is by giving someone their life back.”

The only thing she asked the Queen for was a small library for the girls to learn to read.

Queen Sofía also met Sister Elisa, another old aged Spanish missionary who helped save 40 people from drowning in a hospital in the rural town of Chokwe.

“The rice which came from Spain was a blessing,” said Sister Elisa. “People were able to cook and eat soon after the flood.”

She also managed to convince the Queen to pay the €20,000 needed to repair Chokwe hospital’s generator.

The donation will come from Queen Sofia’s foundation, which carries her name.

The Spanish Queen has been getting under the skin of Mozambique and its culture.

She has worn traditional African garments and had a go at dancing Mozambique’s chingomana dance. 

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WEATHER

In Pictures: Spain’s flood-devastated towns taken on massive clean-up

Spanish authorities and communities are facing a huge clean-up mission after flash floods provoked by intense rain washed away cars, filled homes with mud and knocked out power in many areas of the country.

In Pictures: Spain's flood-devastated towns taken on massive clean-up
Residents clean a street in Cobisa, Toledo province, after a flash flood destroyed much of their homes and belongings on Wednesday. Photo: Oscar del Pozo/AFP

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said emergency services were “working tirelessly” to protect people and restore “normality” to places affected by flooding “as soon as possible”.

One of the worst-hit areas was Alcanar, a town 200 kilometres (160 miles) south of Barcelona, where huge torrents of fast-moving water surged through the streets, sweeping away everything in its path.

Cars were dragged down to the seashore in Alcanar as huge torrents of fast-moving water surged through the streets, sweeping away everything in its path. Photo by LLUIS GENE / AFP

Firefighters and local residents used brooms and hoses on Thursday to clear the streets of mud, tree branches and other debris.

A bulldozer removes mud from the streets of Alcanar. Photo: Lluis Gené/AFP

“It seemed like the world was ending,” Alcanar mayor Joan Roig told radio Rac 1, adding the town was “devastated”.

Two Alcanar residents scrape up the mud that engulfed their homes during the flash flood. Photo: Lluis Gené/AFP

Regional authorities relocated 83 people into hotels or a local sports facility.

The storm knocked out power to 10,000 homes in the northeastern region of Catalonia but as of Thursday only 200 residences lacked electricity, a spokesman for power firm Endesa said.

Heavy rain also fell in Spain’s northern Navarra region and in Madrid, forcing the closure on Wednesday of several metro stations due to flooding.

The Toledo province municipalities of Cobisa, Argés and Polán also bore the brunt of the torrential rain in Spain this week, where the force of the floods knocked down the wall of one local who shouted “Help!” desperately as a wave of mud and debris approached his home. 

Emergency services rescued several people from cars that were caught in rising waters but no fatalities were reported.

Destroyed furniture belonging to Cobisa neighbours among the rubble and debris left behind by the floods. Photo: Oscar del Pozo/AFP

Much of central and northern Spain, along with the Balearic Islands, remained on alert for storms on Thursday, according to the national weather office, Aemet.

The Murcia town of Aguilas was among the most affected by the floods on Thursday, having already experienced similarly destructive weather in March 2021. 

The heavy rain that’s caused chaos throughout much of Spain over the past days is expected to mostly subside on Friday. 

Debris and mud cover a street in Cobisa. Photo: Oscar del Pozo/AFP

Torrential rains are becoming ever more frequent in Spain, with flooding causing seven deaths in the southeast in September 2019, while another storm left 13 dead in the Balearic island of Mallorca a year earlier.

Residents clean a street in Cobisa. Photo: Oscar del Pozo/AFP

Experts say global warming has increased the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere, making episodes of intense rainful more likely to happen, raising the risk of flooding.

WATCH: Devastating floods and torrential rain hit much of Spain

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