Record rainfall plunges some areas into a ‘catastrophic state’

AA/Alyssa McMurtry

While record rainfall caused severe damage in several regions of Portugal on Tuesday, most of the country remained on alert on Wednesday due to continued torrential rains.

The Portuguese Institute of Meteorology (IPMA) confirmed that four meteorological stations in Lisbon, Barreiro, Almada and Mora recorded the heaviest 24-hour rainfall since records began in 1931.

The confirmation came just a week after heavy rain caused severe flooding in Lisbon.

On Tuesday evening, Lisbon Mayor Carlos Moedas described several areas of the Portuguese capital as being in a “catastrophic state”.

“We have never seen such violent floods that follow one another in the span of a week,” he told TSF TV.

Lisbon was hit by major flooding, particularly in the Alcantara region, with 16 people evacuated from their homes and six from a supermarket.

In nearby Santa Clara, a landslide trapped 10 people in a house.

In the city of Al-Jis, the entrance to a metro station was flooded to the surface. In Loris, the rivers reached such a level that they burst their banks, causing numerous floods.

The emergency services confirmed on Tuesday evening that they had to respond to 2,777 emergencies across the country, with more than half of the cases reported in Lisbon.

A total of 82 people were rescued and only one person was slightly injured.

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa told parliament that the authorities were continuing to study the damage to determine whether the country should seek assistance from the European Union.

Nearly 10,000 workers were deployed on Wednesday morning to clean up the damage caused by the rain, Lusa news agency reported. Some rail services have also been restored after rains on Tuesday left road transport in chaos.

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Although Wednesday’s rains are not expected to be as heavy as those recorded on Tuesday, the country remains on yellow alert.

“We are dealing with a climate that is hotter and more extreme; therefore, these phenomena occur more often and have a significant impact on our society,” Ricardo Deus, Head of Climate Change, told IPMA’s Portuguese daily Diario de Noticias.

* Translated from English by Mourad Belhaj

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