Floods, landslides kill 32 on Portuguese Atlantic island

14:46, February 21, 2010      

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At least 32 people were killed while 68 others were injured when floods and mudslides hit a Portuguese island in the Atlantic Ocean.

A DPA dispatch from the Madeira Island quoted local authorities as confirming the disaster late Saturday.

Rains caused flooding and landslides on the island which is a highly-favored tourist destination, where surging water swept away cars, bridges and trees.

Wind reached a speed of over 100 km per hour while electricity supplies and telephone services were severed in many areas on the island.

Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates said he was deeply troubled about the deaths and damage.

He added he would travel to the island for a field inspection as soon as weather permitted.

Madeira's regional chief Alberto Joao Jardim has already reportedly spoken with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to request emergency aid.

Madeira is the largest island in the archipelago with the same name. It has a population of 265,000.

Local Portuguese media described the Madeira storm as the deadliest since October 1993 when eight people were killed.

Source: Xinhua
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