Saturday, May 21

“It is crucial that we are able to clean all of Madrid before it starts to freeze -14 degrees on Monday”




The delegate of Security and municipal spokesperson, Inmaculada Sanz, attends ABC from the Emergency Coordination Center to take stock of the situation in Madrid after the scourge of the storm Filomena. The next few hours will be crucial so that the collapse does not extend beyond next week. There are 24 key hours left before the big frost that could further complicate mobility in the city.

-What has been the most complicated of the last hours in Madrid?

The most complicated thing was that no matter how much we were putting the snow plows in, we couldn’t clear the tracks. The absolute priority was that the emergency teams could function and that the accesses to the hospital emergencies were free. It was a priority that the Fire Brigade and Samur vehicles could reach the most serious warnings. Obviously we are not reaching everyone. In the case of firefighters there are many warnings of falling branches and others, but we could get to everything that has to do with possible damage to people. The main thing was to rescue the people who were in the vehicles, everything else followed.

-They have already freed people, but are there still trapped cars?

Yes, there are abandoned vehicles on the hard shoulders on the M-30 and M-40. They will retire if they are on the hard shoulders.

-How will the protocol to remove these vehicles be? Because they will hamper the snow plows …

Little by little we will remove the vehicles that are crossed on the sidewalks, but most of them are on the shoulders. Or in the A-3 tunnel, where we have taken most of these people to a hotel so that they could be better. Little by little we will see as the roads of the city are released. Now we have the M-30 itself with some accessibility, with one lane available throughout its entire trajectory. There are still many small roads missing and the mobility of the city is still not possible, so this will take time.

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-What is the next main challenge?

Once all the people have been rescued, our priority and where we are putting all our resources and those that we have asked the Military Emergency Unit and the Army to take advantage of that window that we have from tonight until the night of Monday to Sunday, when They will have temperatures of down to -14 degrees, to get as much snow as possible and if not this will be a mess of many days. The top priority is street cleaning and that is what we are going to work on all night and make way for emergency vehicles.

-What schedule do you have for the next few hours?

The UME is going to be in charge of clearing the North-South axis through Paseo de la Castellana, Recoletos and others, and right now we are opening the main axes of the districts and the M-30, which is crucial. From there, we will advance towards the smaller streets. We need maximum communication between tonight and tomorrow.

-What human and technical resources are available?

The UME is already in Madrid, it is taking care of the accesses to the hospitals and we are using 66 snowplows. They are also offering us help from other sites, that everything that comes is well received. But of course all our machinery at Calle 30, Environment and the backhoes in the Works Area are already underway, there are a hundred in total and about 4,000 workers.

– Is it possible to access the hospitals normally?

It is true that in large hospitals there are some access problems, but access to the emergency room is an absolute priority. Yesterday we were all night with that priority, but as it did not stop snowing it was more difficult to keep them clear. But now we have more guarantees of working without it collapsing again.

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-Are there private media working on the operation?

The Environment Area has spoken with the concession companies and many companies are already collaborating.

-Which infrastructure are you most concerned about?

In addition to the emergencies of the large hospitals, keeping the main roads open is key so that our own services such as Firefighters or Samur can arrive. A critical infrastructure with which we have to be very careful is Mercamadrid, what happens is that it has decided to close today, tomorrow and Monday. But that is a critical infrastructure to which we will give the highest priority, because it guarantees supply to the city. and we will put all the necessary means so that the accesses are clean. But we must also take into account that everything that arrives in Mercamadrid comes from outside the city and the region, with which we are exposed to what happens outside, on other roads in the Community and in the rest of the provinces.

Other essential infrastructures are our Samur, Police and Fire stations bases, everything you need to keep running no matter what happens.

– Is it possible to access the hospitals?

the emergencies of large hospitals is an absolute priority.

– Have you had to stop attending or have you been late for an emergency?

In serious incidents on the part of Samur all have been taken care of. In fact, this morning we have successfully reversed cardiorespiratory arrest. There have even been several deliveries that have been attended. I am not aware that serious warnings have not been reached in time regarding people’s health.

-Has the Municipal Police also been able to attend other types of calls for more common crime?

The Police, logically, like the rest of the services, was diminished in the sense that the patrols had difficulties to move even though they had chains, because with 50 centimeters of snow it is very difficult for any vehicle to function. But we have the great luck that a few weeks ago we were provided with large 4x4s, which are the ones that have allowed us to be around the city at all times, even in the worst moments of the snow they were still able to circulate. It is true that it has been a very different night in certain respects. There were not the usual notices regarding brawls, which on a night like yesterday were not given.

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-When will people be able to use the car again?

The cold wave is coming strong and many days next week. We are going to see to what extent we will be able to clear all the remaining snow, but of course all next week we will have to insist a lot on caution. Because, regardless of the snowfall or not, with minus 12 degrees, the mobility situation is going to be complicated. I trust that the situation will normalize over the next week. But the most important thing that we are able to clean everything before it starts to freeze to that point.

-And when will the “normal” routine be restored?

Let us trust that the situation has stabilized over the next week. But I think that long before that the essential services of the city will be working more or less regularly and everything will be normalizing. EMT is not going to work tomorrow either, but early next week he will be able to recover. The schools, in principle, the Community of Madrid has set the return for Wednesday. We have decreed telework for our employees for those days except for essential services.

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