The mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, serves ABC from the management center of Calle 30, a key ring road for the mobility of the city that has collapsed the capital for hours after the heavy snowfall that the storm Filomena has brought with it.
– Once the rescue of the people trapped in the cars has been resolved and seeing that the storm is subsiding, what is the priority now?
We are now working to clear the M-30, which is key to regain mobility in the city. Hopefully both lanes of the M-30 are clear tomorrow. At the moment, the Avenida de la Albufera and the Gran Vía del Este have already been released so that it can be circulated through them. We have all the material and human resources on the street.
– Is the Army already collaborating?
The Military Emergency Unit is already coming to the city. It will be a matter of minutes or hours before they start working. We want them to deal primarily with clearing the entrances to hospitals and Paseo de la Castellana. It is crucial that they arrive as soon as possible because in the early morning from Sunday to Monday the temperature will drop a lot.
-What are the main risks for the next few days?
It is important for people to know that they will not be able to move until the end of next week. It is good news that the snow has stopped, but there is still a lot of work to do. The main danger is going to be frost. We have decreed teleworking for City Council officials, except for essential services that worked in the pandemic, and we ask the rest of the companies to do the same. Nor will there be school classes. Until the end of next week it will not be advisable to move by private car and the Municipal Transport Company will not be able to leave tomorrow either. We’ll see when it can be. The Metro network is what will work 24 hours a day.
-Will the metro continue to be open 24 hours?
Until there is another transportation alternative, that is what we have requested from the Metro.
-When will Mercamadrid be operational again? How will the supplies be arranged?
Mercamadrid will remain closed until Monday and on Tuesday it will begin to reactivate. The objective is that the distribution of essential supplies is ensured through the key roads that we are now clearing of snow.
-Sanchez did not call you during the hardest days of the pandemic, but he has now, what has moved him?
The first to call me was the King, around 1:00 p.m. He has shown me all his love and support at this time. Then Pedro Sánchez called me, around 3:30 p.m. He has made himself available to us and has offered us support for whatever we need.
-Has it been a turning point in your relationships?
The call lasted about 7-8 minutes. We have not talked about other issues, but he has given me his mobile and has told me that I can call him for everything Madrid needs and considers urgent. Without everyone’s effort we will not be able to get out of this.
– Has any self-criticism failed in the planned plan?
It is still early. We have to take stock to evaluate the entire process, but we must start from a premise. It is a natural catastrophe that no one anticipated, at least with these dimensions. There was talk of snow thickness of 20 centimeters and it already exceeds 60 centimeters.
– Have you missed any action by the government?
The truth is that every time I have spoken with the Government Delegation or the ministries involved, they have offered me their collaboration at all times. I think this is not the time to complain.
-Can you make a balance of damages?
Not yet because we do not know the real damage. This is not going to be a process that ends next week. That is going to take us several weeks.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism