ANDALUCIAN authorities have come under a deluge of criticism after thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed by freak floods.
Opposition parties have slammed the “ridiculous” response from the Junta after many areas received their annual rainfall in just three weeks.
“Flood victims had to endure Christmas, New Year and the Epiphany until the Junta finally stirred.”
Incredibly, it took 12 days for the emergency action plan – originally proposed before Christmas – to be implemented.
“Flood victims had to endure Christmas, New Year and the Epiphany until the Junta finally stirred,” said Partido Popular leader Javier Arenas.
“Meanwhile its bosses took summer-holiday length breaks.”
The record rainfall caused many parts of the region, including Ronda, the Jerez valley and the mountains towns of Jimera de Libar and Cortes, to be declared disaster zones.
A trio of hotels owned by British expatriates near Ronda suffered tens of thousands of damage and were forced to cancel Christmas bookings after rivers broke their banks (see story on page 5).
Ronda artist David Seaton, who saw a metre of water in his house over Christmas said: “It’s been awful and little wonder why so few Spaniards choose to live down by the river!”
Meanwhile expatriate lawyer Frances Orchover – whose house in Jimera was half submerged (see cover shot) – discovered her insurance company had cancelled her policy without warning.
“The company rejected our recent payment and cancelled the policy without telling us,” she explained. “All in all, not our best Christmas.”
During the three weeks of torrential rainfall Andalucian emergency services received 37,000 calls as 1,185 rescue workers toiled around the clock.
The Junta has now confirmed that 60 million euros will be made available to repair the huge number of roads damaged by the rainfall.
Worryingly, despite being in desperate need of rainfall, some 6,566 hectares of agricultural land have also been harmed, with the olive oil industry the most affected.
Meanwhile, Mijas residents have complained to officials after landslides caused hazardous conditions along the western entrance road to Mijas pueblo.
In the La Ina area of Jerez 2000 homes were flooded as the River Guadalete burst its banks.
Meanwhile a pensioner, 76, drowned in the Granada village of Valderrubio, which saw 600 of its 800 houses flooded.
There was at least some positive news after it emerged that Andalucia’s reservoirs were now up to 70 per cent full, double the amount of the same time last year.