Rain causes fatalities during the festivities in El Rocio

HEAVY rains fell over much of Spain this week starting May 9. Although the northeast coast escaped the worst of it, it was a different story in the far southwest as the region bore the brunt of the downpours, with rivers bursting their banks and roads completely water-logged. 

Tragically a 66-year-old man from Beas died when his car was washed away by a swollen river, his body was found in his car in the neighbouring town of Trigueros. 

The man had been reported missing the day before by his wife, whose worst fears were confirmed after it turned out that his car had been washed away by floodwater, after crossing what is usually a small stream on his way back from Huelva. The vehicle was spotted floating in the water in Trigueros on Wednesday afternoon. 

The day before, the local fire department rescued a mother and her four children after their car fell into the Arroyo de Santa María stream close to Almonte, also in Huelva. The father had managed to escape the swamped vehicle and scramble to safety, but the rest of his family were trapped inside until their rescuers arrived.

It was only last week when the countryside of Beas was hit by a blazing wild fire, but now the conditions have changed on a biblical level with the spectacular flooding. 

The flooding and torrential rain has almost tried to dampen the spirits of the people participating in the annual ‘romería’ of the Camino del Rocío in the province of Huelva, as the dust road and tracks either turned to a quagmire of mud or have been completely water-logged. 

Traditional horse-and-mule-drawn carriages continued their pilgrimage from Huelva to El Rocio regardless of the pouring rain, although some groups had the foresight to change their routes and avoid the worst affected areas. The pilgrimage was completed last night as the procession reached the destination of El Rocio.

Now revellers will continue their festivities with drinking, singing and dancing all weekend with more rain forecast today, May 13, although brighter skies should be seen on Saturday and Sunday.  

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