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article imageIn Spain, toll rises to 10 dead as Storm Gloria ebbs

By AFP     Jan 23, 2020 in Environment

The death toll from a violent storm which has wrought havoc on huge swathes of Spain's eastern and southern coastline rose to 10 on Thursday as rescuers searched for four missing people.

The latest deaths were in the northern Catalonia region, where the emergency services found the body of a man inside a vehicle in Cabaces, 60 kilometres (37 miles) northwest of the port city of Tarragona.

They had earlier found another man's body in a flooded river near Jorba, 70 kilometres northwest of Barcelona.

And late on Wednesday, they found a man who died after falling into the water in Palamos, a port town about 100 kilometres up the coast from Barcelona. They are also searching for another man missing from a merchant ship in the same area.

Earlier on Thursday, regional officials confirmed the death of a 75-year-old woman whose house collapsed because of heavy rain in Alcoi, a town in the eastern Alicante region.

Storm Gloria hit the region on Sunday, bringing strong winds, torrential rains and heavy snow, battering Spain's southern and eastern flanks before moving north.

Gale-force winds and huge waves smashed into seafront towns, with dramatic images showing massive flooding that has damaged shops, houses and restaurants.

- Record waves -

As the storm eased, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez visited some of the worst-hit areas on Thursday, overflying parts of Catalonia before heading to the Balearic Islands which on Tuesday were hit by record waves.

Speaking on the island of Mallorca, Sanchez pledged government help "immediately".

"We're going to hold an urgent meeting tomorrow to activate all the mechanisms... to respond with all the necessary urgency to your needs," he said, pledging there would be "no scrimping on any resource or effort".

Storm Gloria hit the region on Sunday  bringing strong winds  torrential rains and heavy snow
Storm Gloria hit the region on Sunday, bringing strong winds, torrential rains and heavy snow

Rescuers on the islands are still searching for a 25-year-old Briton and a 41-year-old Spanish man, both of whom were last seen in northwestern Ibiza.

They were also looking for a 27-year-old Spaniard who disappeared in Mallorca while practising canyoning -- a mix of rappelling, climbing and watersliding through deep gorges.

Rescuers found three other bodies on Wednesday.

One was a 67-year-old man who went missing in his car near the southeastern resort town of Benidorm, while two others were found in the southern Andalusia region: a 77-year-old man who died when a greenhouse collapsed on him in Nijar and a homeless man who died of hypothermia.

On Sunday, a man was killed by falling roof tiles in Pedro Bernardo, west of Madrid, and a day later, two homeless people died of exposure in the southern Valencia region, one a 54-year-old Romanian woman.

Aside from the confirmed deaths, rescuers found another body in southern Valencia on Monday, that of a man in Carcaixent, but they have so far been unable to say if he died as a direct result of the storm.

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