Mudslides Kill at Least 38 in Portugal

FUNCHAL, Portugal, Feb. 21 (UPI) — Mudslides and floods on the island of Madeira killed 38 people, injured 100 others and left an undetermined number missing, Portuguese authorities said.

Hundreds of people were evacuated to shelters as the heavy rain hit the island overnight, washing away roads and damaging homes in the capital of Funchal and in Riberia Brava, said Pedro Barbosa, a spokesman for Maderia’s Civil Protection Agency.

Portugal has asked the European Union for disaster financial aid, Radio France Internationale reported Sunday.

Search and rescue teams reinforced by Portuguese military personnel deployed Sunday throughout the hardest hit parts of the southern end of the island, a popular tourist area about 600 miles southwest of Portugal.

Weather conditions had improved significantly by Sunday and rains were decreasing, which eased the work of a navy ship and helicopters delivering medical and relief supplies.

Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates was on the island to assess the damage, while President Cavaco Silva pledged support for the victims of the storm, CNN reported.

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Categorized | Military, Soil Erosion
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