DAMAGE caused by the severe storm Gloria, which battered eastern Spain has sparked a debate about coastal management.


Questions have been raised about the country’s coastal development
policies, as councils and business-owners struggle to repair and rebuild
ready for the Easter holidays.


Gloria ripped apart coastline towns and resorts from Catalunya in the
North, before moving down to the Costa Blanca and Costa Calida.


Waves of five meters in height combined with torrential rain and gale
force winds, causing over €54 million in damage according to estimates
from the Ministry for Ecological Transition.


A total of 13 people were killed, while over 200 resorts were directly
affected.


Chringuitos, restaurants and rental companies saw their premises
completely destroyed.


In some popular resorts, beaches completely disappeared and sea defence
barriers were displaced, with up to 35 metres of land being reclaimed
back by the ocean.


Local councils have been racing against the clock to repair the damage
caused, ferrying in sand and materials to rebuild the sea defences and
beaches ready for the influx of tourists that descend on the region for
the Easter break.


However local business owners are less than sympathetic as they demand
long term solutions and accountability from developers, because in their
eyes it was ‘only a matter of time.’

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Truck loads of sand are being transported back to the coastline to replace the lost beaches


They are also urging local councils to start using nature as inspiration
to help with flood prevention instead of fighting against it, pumping
hundreds of thousands of euros into sea defences and reclaiming land
from the Mediterranean for further construction.


Mario, the owner of La Bodeguita Bar in the province of Alicante uses
his story as an example.


“At La Marineta beach, seaweed tends to build up and is not removed,
despite complaints to the local council,” he said.


“During Storm Gloria, this created a natural barrier and prevented the
nearby buildings from being more seriously damaged.”


Hugo Moran, the Secretary of State for the Environment said: “We have to
rethink the way of managing the coast.


“To protect the coast we need solutions based on both nature and
engineering.”


The new philosophy comes as local councils struggle to allocate storm
damage recovery into their already stretched 2020 budgets.


Mayors are questioning the feasibility of injecting millions into
replacement breakwater solutions that will simply need replacing the
next time a severe storm hits.

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