Landslides Claim 40 on Atlantic Resort Isle

Madeira awash in mud after heaviest rains since '93
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 21, 2010 6:26 AM CST
Landslides Claim 40 on Atlantic Resort Isle
Debris brought by floods litter the water in the port of Funchal, the Madeira Island's capital, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010. Heavy rain caused flash floods around the Portuguese island and the local government has confirmed at least 2 dozen dead.   (AP Photo/Octavio Passos)

The death toll from mudslides and flash flooding on the Portuguese island of Madeira rose to 38 people today as the government rushed emergency aid to the resort haven. More than 100 others were injured and an unknown number were missing, authorities said. A government rep told state news agency Lusa not everyone was accounted for after heavy rain yesterday lashed the island, which lies 550 miles southwest of Lisbon. It turned some streets in capital of Funchal into raging torrents of mud, water, and debris.

Ramos said rescue workers feared some people were still buried under the caked muck that coated the city. "We will continue prospecting for bodies, we are waiting for the teams that come from the mainland to continue working on the ground," he said. The heavy rain—the worst storm to hit the island since 1993—also displaced 250 people. The weather improved today, making it easier for rescue workers to move around. (Read more Portugal stories.)

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