Weather Hampers Madeira Rescue Efforts

FUNCHAL, Portugal, Feb. 23 (UPI) — Rescue teams on the Portuguese island of Madeira Tuesday cleared mud and rock carried down from mountains by deadly torrential rains, officials said.

Help was arriving on the Atlantic island about 600 miles from the Portuguese coast, but more heavy rain hampered rescue efforts in isolated communities in the mountains surrounding Funchal, the island’s capital, the BBC reported.

One operation was focused on an underground parking garage near Funchal’s commercial center, where divers have been searching for missing people feared trapped, officials said. A war ship with troops was en route to help restore infrastructure and communications.

Government officials have been warning that number of dead, now at 25, could rise, the British broadcaster said.

“They’re getting on with the clear-up, but there’s a kind of darkness hanging over the city, it’s so sad,” one woman told the BBC.

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