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Spain Floods: Boy Survives by Clinging to Tree Overnight

A boy has survived deadly floods in Spain by climbing up a tree and holding on to it overnight. The authorities said his family’s car had been swept into a river and the boy’s father was still missing. The 10-year-old was being treated for hypothermia, Spanish media reported. At least three people have died and another three are missing as record rainfall caused flooding in central Spain, according to police. Bridges were torn down and roads turned into rivers of mud in the heaviest-hit regions southwest of Madrid.

In a rural part of this area, the boy’s family had been trying to escape the floods when their car was dragged into the river, the head of the Madrid region, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, said. “The poor boy spent the whole night perched in a tree,” she said. Spain’s civil guard police force said the boy’s mother and sister had been found, but rescue services were still looking for his father near Aldea de Fresno. The father was one of three people swept away by the heavy rainfall rescuers were still looking for, the civil guard said.

It also confirmed three deaths as a result of the storm in the Toledo region, southwest of Madrid. The Spanish weather service (Aemet) said it had registered record rainfall of 9cm (3.5in) in the region on Sunday. Clean-up operations continued on Tuesday, with people removing mud and debris left behind by the floods. The regional administrations in Madrid and Castilla-La Mancha have asked the federal government to declare the affected areas “catastrophe zones”, which would make Spanish government money available for repairing damaged buildings.

Residents were warned by an emergency text message and loud alarm on Sunday about the storm – the first time the authorities had used this system. The authorities said people adhering to advice to stay at home and leave vehicles behind had helped rescue services deal with the thousands of calls they received. Spain, along with much of Southern Europe, has endured an intense heatwave this summer. Climate scientists have warned that global warming means more water evaporating during the summer, leading to more intense storms.

Source: BBC