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The mayor of Madrid says the snowstorm caused nearly $ 2 billion in damage




Madrid mayor Madrid on Thursday called on the central government to declare the Spanish capital a disaster area, warning that damage caused by the snowstorm last weekend would cost at least 1.4 billion euros, or $ 1.7 billion, to fix. .

Mayor Jos Luis Martnez-Almeida said at a news conference that determining the disaster would release emergency funds and ensure that all people who have suffered injuries can be compensated as soon as possible.

Madrid has been struggling to reopen its roads to traffic and clear snow piles, which covered the city on Friday and Saturday. The storm, dubbed Filomena, brought the heaviest snowfall Madrid has seen in almost 50 years, throwing more than a foot and a half of snow into the city and surrounding areas.

On Thursday, city officials warned that it would take several more days to clear all roads, the task was slowed by freezing weather conditions that are expected to last until the middle of next week. The Spanish weather office predicted on Thursday that this 10-day period of freezing temperatures would be the longest stretch of such weather that hit Madrid in two decades.

Madrid Airport was closed for most of the weekend and resumed its normal flight schedule on Thursday, while schools and sports centers will remain closed until Monday.

Snowfall also destroyed parks around the capital, with damage recorded for 11,000 of the 17,000 trees in Retiro Park, according to local authorities.

More than 700 soldiers have been sent to help city services clear snow in Madrid and the neighboring Castilla-La Mancha region. Despite their efforts, 127 roads remained completely closed to traffic on Thursday.

The storm brought Madrid to a standstill, disrupting transport across the country, just as Spain was entering the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, Spain’s health ministry recorded its highest number of new cases since the pandemic struck Spain last March. The death toll in Covid-19 countries, more than 53,000, is one of the highest in Europe.

The snow also disrupted the country’s vaccination campaign, which began in late December. In Madrid, many healthcare workers were forced to work extra shifts to cover colleagues who could not reach their hospitals due to snow and ice.

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