Spain to send out COVID-19 vaccine, food convoys after snowstorm paralyses roads

MADRID: The Spanish government will send convoys carrying the COVID-19 vaccine and food supplies on Sunday (Jan 10) to areas cut off by Storm Filomena which brought the heaviest snowfall in decades across central Spain and killed four people.

In the Madrid area, rescuers reached 1,500 people trapped in cars, while police broke up a large snowball fight after authorities appealed for citizens to stay at home for risk of accidents or spreading coronavirus.

Forecasters warned of dangerous conditions in the coming days, with temperatures expected to fall to up to minus 10 degrees Celsius next week and the prospect of snow turning to ice and damaged trees falling.

Madrid’s main international airport was closed and the operator said would not reopen until Sunday afternoon at the earliest, when flights would resume gradually.

About 20,000 km of roads across central Spain were affected by the storm and the government would send convoys transporting the vaccine and food supplies to those in need, transport minister Jose Luis Abalos said on Saturday.

Heavy snowfall in Madrid
Two people speak in front of the snow-covered main entrance of the Hospital Universitario La Paz in Madrid, Spain, January 9, 2021. REUTERS/Susana Vera

A 36-year-old woman gave birth in an ambulance in Madrid on Saturday after health workers were unable to get her to hospital.

One man and a woman in a car drowned after a river burst near Malaga in the south, while two homeless people froze to death in Madrid and Calatayud in the east, officials said.

The State Metereological Agency (Aemet) said up to 20cm to 30cm of snow fell in Madrid on Saturday, the most since 1971.

BOOKMARK THIS: Our comprehensive coverage of the coronavirus outbreak and its developments

Download our app or subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak: