11-10-2018

The death toll from the Majorca floods rose to twelve yesterday when the bodies of a German couple in their seventies were found in a torrent in Arta.

The German consulate had confirmed yesterday morning that the couple were unaccounted for. Their car, a Ford Focus, was found with its doors open and some personal effects still inside. The Guardia Civil believe that the couple had left the car when floodwater overwhelmed the vehicle, only for them to be dragged under the water.

A third missing person was Artur, the five-year-old son of Joana Lliteres, the 40-year-old woman who died when she was trapped in her car but who had managed to get her seven-year-old daughter Ursula out of the car. Artur's backpack was found by sniffer dogs at around half six on Thursday evening near to the roundabout in Son Carrio where their car had been overwhelmed.

Ursula was saved by a German cyclist. The Lliteres family was yesterday trying to contact him. They believe his name is Daniel and that he is either a resident or a tourist.

The two Britons who were killed when their taxi was swept away by water in S'Illot, were named yesterday as Anthony and Delia Green.The couple, aged 77 and 75, were from Moffat in Dumfries and had been on their way to Cala Bona. The taxi driver, Juan Grande Sillero, was another victim.

Names of others who lost their lives are Bernat Estelrich Santandreu, 81, who drowned in the basement of his home; Joana Ballesteros Femenias, 83, who was overwhelmed by floodwater in the ground floor of her home; Biel Mesquida Salas, who had abandoned his van some fifty metres from his home in Sant Llorenç but did not make it to the house; and Rafel Gili Sastre, 71, the former mayor of Arta, who was killed when a wall of his garage was knocked down by the force of the floodwater.

Some eight hundred members of the emergency services - police, army, fire brigades, Civil Protection - were involved in yesterday's search, which centred on the Son Carrio area. Around 150 people continued search operations overnight on Thursday, their main task to try and locate the body of five-year-old Artur.

The National Police helicopter was engaged in a search for a car that was swept into the sea. At least four cars had been pushed into the sea by the force of the "tsunami" of water from the torrent. The Guardia Civil, meanwhile, were angered by drones that were flying over the area and impeding the work of search helicopters. They warned whoever was responsible that the drones would be knocked out of the sky.

Assessment of the damage caused by the flooding in Sant Llorenç is valued at 22.7 million euros, and this is just the amount required for urgent work. The Council of Majorca's infrastructure councillor, Mercedes Garrido, has placed this estimate on repairs, stressing that 2.7 million euros are needed immediately for bridges on four roads that were damaged.

The total final cost is put at over 100 million euros. More than 2,000 properties were affected as well as cars and businesses. Insurance payouts will be sought by restaurants which lost all their refrigerated stock because of the electricity cut. Hotels in S'Illot have decided to close. Compensation will have to be paid to guests.

The Spanish government, meanwhile, has started the process for declaring areas of the northeast of Majorca a disaster zone in order to speed up financial aid. Following a meeting of the cabinet, the government spokesperson Isabel Celaá reiterated the government's full support for and solidarity with those who have suffered. The funds, she said, would be forthcoming immediately.

The regional government's social services ministry, which has made thirty social workers available, announced that special provision is to be made by the government for funding the replacement of household items - cookers, fridges, heating, utensils, furniture - as well as clothing, windows and doors.

In Sant Llorenç, the town hall was yesterday coordinating efforts and volunteers to help residents to try and return to normality as soon as possible. The town hall has also set up a bank account* for donations to help the victims of the flooding. The Espai 36 cultural centre was open yesterday for food, and a special facility was also set up in the church square. Seven trucks had meanwhile been brought in to remove all the furniture and items that had been piled onto the streets.

The offers of help had been so overwhelming on Wednesday that calls to offer help to the 112 emergency service resulted in the system collapsing. Town halls across the island were among those which posted urgent messages on social media asking people to only phone if there was an emergency. The 112 service yesterday issued a further request for people wishing to volunteer with the clean-up operation. They should go to the town hall building first in order to facilitate proper coordination.

Real Mallorca and the Balearic Football Federation announced yesterday that they are looking at staging a benefit event to raise funds for the flood victims. Rafael Nadal organised a minute's silence at his academy in Manacor. Students took part as did Nadal's uncle, Toni, and Carlos Moya.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia will come to Majorca on Friday afternoon and visit the Sant Llorenç area.

* The bank account for donations for victims is ES 86 2100 0161 8802 0018 8265. This is a La Caixa account. The bank has put in an initial 18,000 euros of its own.

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