Monday, February 22, 2010

Mud torrent kills 42 on Portuguese tourist island

Agence France-Presse: Troops and rescuers dug through mud-filled houses and streets on Portugal's tourist island of Madeira Sunday after flash floods unleashed brown torrents that killed at least 42 people. The government in Lisbon rushed medical teams, rescuers, divers and relief supplies to the Atlantic island. But morgue pathologists also sent a grim warning that more bodies would be found in the mud that swept people off their feet as they tried to escape.

The heavy rains ended Sunday, revealing scenes of devastation in the capital, Funchal, with cars overturned and roofs ripped off buildings. Power and telephone lines were torn down but flights to the international airport restarted from the Portuguese mainland, 900 kilometres (560 miles) to the northeast.

The regional government gave a new toll of at least 42 dead and more than 120 people injured, including "a small number" of Britons on the "island of flowers" that is a popular destination for 850,000 tourists each year….

A waterfall on Madeira, shot by Cookaa, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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