Residents outside Madrid suffer after snow blizzard

Residents outside Madrid suffer after snow blizzard

While the weekend’s freak blizzard from Storm Filomena covered much of Spain in thick snow, causing disruption for millions, some residents of a sprawling informal settlement on the outskirts of Madrid are suffering more than most.

La Cañada Real is one of Madrid’s most impoverished areas and is said to be Europe’s largest informal settlement with makeshift homes lining a 14-kilometre stretch of road.

Electricity has been cut to the area due to a complex dispute over illegal connections to power lines and access to both gas and running water is patchy.

Following plummeting temperatures, Madrid City Hall offered residents hundreds of beds in a temporary shelter nearby but many residents don’t want to leave.

“With the situation that there is now with the pandemic, I am not going to a refuge. I have a home but what I don’t have is electricity,” says Gemma San Jose Herraez.

The Madrina Foundation religious group on Sunday delivered blankets and food provisions which were gratefully received by locals.

“I have come to see if they can give me some blankets, nappies for the baby and some food for the little children that I have,” said local resident Noelia Sanz who is pregnant.

The Spanish capital is trying to get back on its feet after the 50-year record snowfall which paralyzed large parts of central Spain.

It has now led to icy weather that is hampering the rollout of the much-needed coronavirus vaccination.

With a sharp drop in temperatures on Monday and frost freezing much of the snow, which reached more than 50 centimeters (20 inches) in some urban areas, authorities are calling on people to avoid all but essential trips out of their homes.While the weekend’s freak blizzard from Storm Filomena covered much of Spain in thick snow, causing disruption for millions, some residents of a sprawling informal settlement on the outskirts of Madrid are suffering more than most.

La Cañada Real is one of Madrid’s most impoverished areas and is said to be Europe’s largest informal settlement with makeshift homes lining a 14-kilometre stretch of road.

Electricity has been cut to the area due to a complex dispute over illegal connections to power lines and access to both gas and running water is patchy.

Following plummeting temperatures, Madrid City Hall offered residents hundreds of beds in a temporary shelter nearby but many residents don’t want to leave.

“With the situation that there is now with the pandemic, I am not going to a refuge. I have a home but what I don’t have is electricity,” says Gemma San Jose Herraez.

The Madrina Foundation religious group on Sunday delivered blankets and food provisions which were gratefully received by locals.

“I have come to see if they can give me some blankets, nappies for the baby and some food for the little children that I have,” said local resident Noelia Sanz who is pregnant.

The Spanish capital is trying to get back on its feet after the 50-year record snowfall which paralyzed large parts of central Spain.

It has now led to icy weather that is hampering the rollout of the much-needed coronavirus vaccination.

With a sharp drop in temperatures on Monday and frost freezing much of the snow, which reached more than 50 centimeters (20 inches) in some urban areas, authorities are calling on people to avoid all but essential trips out of their homes.
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