SPAIN’S northern city of Pamplona was hit by the ‘flood of the century’ when rivers burst their banks on Friday following torrential rain as Storm Barra rolled in across the north of the peninsula.
As waters rose, sweeping away cars and flooding homes, those with kayaks took to the streets as the only way to navigate through parts of the city.
Extraordinary footage of a man kayaking through the city was posted on social media, while another local man headed out in his kayak to try and save trapped animals from the rising waters.
Aitor Gonzales told local newspaper Navarra.com that when he heard about ‘the flood of the century’ he grabbed his yellow kayak and headed out to the Aranzadi area of Pamplona.
“I knew there could be animals trapped by flood water and I managed to rescue a cat and a hen,” he said.
“It’s difficult seeing a flood like this, but it’s also impressive to see the city this way.” He explained how he had then kayaked through the Rochapea neighbourhood where “the streets were like rivers”.
He said that he and fellow members of the local Iruña Kayak Club had been enlisted by emergency services to help reach trapped residents and to distribute medicines and supplies to those in need.
Storm Barra swept across northern Spain Thursday and into Friday with the state meteorological agency issuing weather alerts across much of the north and east of the peninsula.
A 49-year-old woman was killed when she was buried beneath a landslide while sitting in a parked car in the town of Sunbilla near San Sebastian.
Local media was full of images of flooded roads, apartment blocks and businesses.
One Pamplona local told The Olive Press that it was the worst flooding the city had seen in six decades. “There are floods from time to time when the river burst it bank,” said Javier who is 60 years old. “But I’ve never seen it like this and older folk are saying the last time they remember a flood this bad was back in 1961, the year I was born.”