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5/25/2007

Rains bring floods, transport chaos

Breaking Earth News
Spain

MADRID: Heavy rain flooded Spanish towns yesterday, stranding thousands as roads and railways were submerged and washing away olive trees and vineyards.Hail and rain destroyed hundreds of millions of euros worth of crops. Farmers in Extremadura near the border with Portugal said fruit harvests like early cherries had been ruined.Over 400 people fled their homes in the town of Alcazar de San Juan as a dike came close to bursting in the normally parched province of Ciudad Real, south of Madrid.Thunderstorms were set to keep pounding the central grain and wine producing region of Castilla La Mancha until the weekend.A wetter-than-normal spring had helped to alleviate drought conditions in central and southern Spain. However, as much rain has fallen on the central region’s rolling plains in the last few days as in the whole of 2005.Train services, including links between Madrid and major Mediterranean coast cities, were suspended yesterday as tracks disappeared under water.“We can’t say when they will restart because it’s still raining,” a spokesman for the state railway operator Renfe said.Farm union Asaja reported extensive damage.“Overflowing rivers have dragged away centuries old olive trees and destroyed hillsides,” it said on its webpage.
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