Spanish PM to mop up in flood area

Spanish PM to mop up in flood area
Firefighters row along a flooded street in Tudela, along the river Ebro. Photo: Cesar Manso/AFP
Mariano Rajoy will visit the areas flooded along the River Ebro on Friday, as the Spanish government announce a €60 million aid package for the cleanup operation.

The river, in northern Spain, burst its banks last week after melt water from the Pyrenees combined with a week of heavy rain, raising river levels by metres and forcing people out of their homes.

The Aragon regional government activated its Special Flood Plan in the run up to the floods, evacuating homes along the banks of the Ebro. 

Flooding has now spread to areas of the Basque Country and Catalonia, while the city of Zaragoza remains partly underwater. 

A major motorway in the town of Villafranca, near Zaragoza collapsed suddenly due to flooding. Photo: Cesar Manso/AFP. 

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will visit the flood hit area on Friday, before embarking on an official visit to Guatemala over the weekend.

He is expected to approve an emergency aid package for €11.5 million for the three communities affected by the flooding according to Isabel García Tejerina, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Environment, quoted in El Mundo.

The regions of Aragón and Navarra will both receive €4 million, while La Rioja will get €3.5 million. The regions could receive more depending on evaluations of flood damage, which are currently ongoing.

The aid package will also include €60 million to clean up the riverbed of the Ebro.

The leader of opposition Socialist party (PSOE), Pedro Sánchez, criticized the Spanish prime minister for not immediately rushing to the affected area to show solidarity with flood victims.

The opposition leader made his own visit on Wednesday to flood hit areas, where water levels had exceeded six metres.

“How bad do things have to get for Rajoy to walk through the mud?” Sánchez said.

Tejerina defended the government’s actions, saying it had been 'very present' in the affected zones since the beginning of the flooding.

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