Tuesday, May 18

Sánchez disappears as emergency forces save chaos


Madrid

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It was not until four o’clock in the afternoon yesterday when the head of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, began to contact the presidents of the Autonomous Communities most affected by the storm Filomena in order to reinforce “coordinated actions,” as reported then the Secretary of State for Communication. Between them, he called Isabel Díaz Ayuso, president of the Community of Madrid, and José Luis Martínez-Almeida, mayor of the capital. Since the day before, the region suffered an unprecedented storm that had left thousands of people trapped on the roads overnight. It is the territory hardest hit by snowfall, but not the only one.

From Moncloa, it was about transmitting an image of “maximum coordination between administrations” to fight against the effects of the storm. ” But, by then, the main opposition party, the PP, He had already been criticizing the silence of the Prime Minister during the first hours of the worst storm in the last 50 years.

Before Sánchez, the head of Transport, José Luis Ábalos, had assured on Friday, in statements to TVE, that everything was prepared and controlled to receive Filomena. At night, he even secured on Antena 3 that everything was working, when there were already thousands of people trapped on the roads and the Madrid airport had to be closed.

The minister, surprised

But the minister did not make a first official assessment of the situation until much later, at the beginning of Saturday afternoon, when he had to admit that the Government was “surprised by the magnitude of the storm”, despite the fact that Meteorology had been there for days. warning of what was to come. However, the Executive insisted that they had acted with an “unprecedented” foresight and coordination system. This was reiterated by Ábalos: “It has been the most ambitious, best equipped and coordinated device to date.”

Emergency and the EMU

The government’s surprise at the magnitude of the snowfall was chaos in real life. At the time of that first pronouncement, the Civil Guard had already uxiled 799 people and evacuated another 418. A total of 611 roads and ports, one hundred on the main network, were “affected” by the snowfall, according to the Ministry of the Interior, which in the afternoon reported that there were already 657, of which 133 were completely cut off. In total, they comprised 19,720 kilometers of roads, in which the emergency services, the Security Forces and the military multiplied their efforts, as a priority to rescue those who were trapped in their vehicles.

That rescue operation had begun to work late Friday night, when no one from the Government had appeared and in Barajas flights began to be diverted. The M-40 in Madrid immediately registered car bagging, in some cases agonizing due to the very low temperatures, which were later reproduced in other locations: A-3, A-4 and A-5, at the level of municipalities around the capital such as Móstoles, Alcorcón, and further away, Aranjuez and Ciempozuelos.

At noon, the Minister of the Interior indicated that helped at1,500 people traveling in 70 percent of blocked vehicles, and that they were working on freeing the other 30 percent. It was not until 7:00 p.m. when the Community of Madrid reported that no one was detained on its roads, the same Community of Madrid that requested the activation of the Military Emergency Unit (UME), which began deploying 98 troops and 45 vehicles and last night had more than 200 troops and 75 vehicles in the region.

The UME came to support Civil Protection, Civil Guard, Firefighters and Red Cross, and in the afternoon he worked to clear access to the first of Madrid’s hospitals, Gómez Ulla, after having enabled the great artery of the capital, the Paseo de la Castellana. Another 134 soldiers operated in the Albacete region of Alcaraz and Segura and the UME installed a logistics hub in Valladolid in anticipation of a possible deployment. The Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, advanced that both the UME and the rest of the Armies would be at the disposal of the needs.

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