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Mallorca flooding disaster: “The water was upon us in two minutes”

Mud-caked homes, broken possessions and tow trucks make up the new landscape of Sant Llorenç des Cardassar

Inundaciones Mallorca
Residents remove destroyed furniture from their houses in Sant Llorenc. AP

Sant Llorenç des Cardassar hasn’t slept lately. Residents have lost track of time since a tide of mud suddenly erupted into their homes on Tuesday, dragging people and objects in its destructive wake.

“In two minutes, wham! We didn’t have time for anything,” laments Margalida Servera, 74, tossing dirt-caked bed covers onto the mountain of mud behind her.

I’m not even aware of what time it is anymore

Catalina Galmes, resident

One minute, she and her 104-year-old mother were watching TV; the next, she was holding her mother by the arms to prevent her from drowning.

“The water was up to here,” says Margalida, pointing at her chest as she continues to throw out a lifetime’s worth of possessions.

Tennis player Rafael Nadal helps with the clean-up operation in Sant Llorenç on Wednesday.
Tennis player Rafael Nadal helps with the clean-up operation in Sant Llorenç on Wednesday. EFE

“I’m not even aware of what time it is anymore,” says Catalina Galmes, 50, wielding a broom. What at first had seemed like the kind of rainy day that makes you want to stay indoors, suddenly turned into a storm that flooded the ground floor, where her 15-year-old son was doing his homework.

We’ve lost over €100,000 and we don’t want any pictures, we just want you to grab a broom and sweep

Manolo Marcos, resident

“Grab whatever you have with you and run up here!” she yelled at him. They had just enough time to get away from the mud that she and other family members are now shoveling out.

Meanwhile, the tow trucks are doing overtime, taking away broken furniture, beds, TV sets and refrigerators.

“This is not going to be over today or tomorrow, either. We’ve got several days’ worth of work here,” says Bárbara Servera, 48, who runs a tobacconist shop.

Even the tennis player Rafael Nadal, who is from Mallorca, is here today, trying to keep a low profile inside a garage that’s been ruined by the flood.

“We’ve lost over €100,000 and we don’t want any pictures, we just want you to grab a broom and sweep,” says the garage owner, 53-year-old Manolo Marcos. He and his sons have offered their company’s digger and three trucks to help clear the debris.

Standing on some wooden beams, Miquel Arvader, 69, points at what used to be his home. “There was a kitchen here,” he says. From the first floor of his home he watched the waters drag away cars with people inside. “They must still be searching for them,” he adds in worried tones.

English version by Susana Urra.

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