Floods in Vall D’aran and Pyrenees

Floods in Vall D’aran and Pyrenees

Val d’Aran is an administrative entity in Catalonia, Spain, consisting of the Aran valley, 620.47 square kilometres (239.56 sq mi) in area, in the Pyrenees mountains, with a population of about 4.000 inhabitants. It is a renown tourist area.
In June 2013, severe flash floods occurred, stressing the response of the Civil Protection Authority particularly in the municipalities of Vielha, Arties, Salardù. Actually it was a transboundary event that affected also the valleys in the French.
The event that occurred between the 17th of June to the 18th was provoked by a combination of hazard factors: on the one hand the exceptional level of snow that was still persisting in the mountains following months relatively cold and with intense precipitation also during the spring time and on the other exceptional rainfall, that peaked 115 l/m2 in Vielha in less than 24 hours, considering that 100 l/m2 in 24 hours is the alert threshold.

The intense rainfall resulted in:
• Rivers burst their banks damaging roads by cracking the pavement or triggering landslides. Some bridges were destroyed. Several roads were affected and remained closed for some days.
• Some villages remained isolated, and therefore the provision of food and bottled water had to be done by helicopter.
• Water supply services run out of order in many places.
• Petrol powered generators and water tank trucks from outside the valley were mobilized to supply electricity and to deliver drinking water to the entire city of Arties and to the hospital in Vielha.

The preliminary assessment carried out by the Insurance Compensation Consortium was of about 20 Million Euros. The Civil Protection of Catalunya, firemen and police forces were extensively deployed to rescue the population and to provide the missing basic services.

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