SPAIN – Floods in northern Spain have caused widespread destruction to crop and livestock farms totalling €50 million after continuous rain combined with an early thaw.
Farmers in three northern regions rallied earlier this week to save around 20,000 head of livestock after the River Ebro burst its banks over the weekend.
Spanish producer organisation COAG has calculated the losses, stating 45,000 hectares of land has been decimated, 60 per cent of which is cereals and fodder crops and 15 per cent spring drilled arable.
The brunt of the flooding has occurred in La Rioja, Aragon and Navarra. Government analysts estimate €3.6 million in farm damage in La Rioja alone.
On Monday, Spanish agriculture minister Minister Isabel Garcia Tejerina said suffering continued due to the rains being so huge.
The government will wait until Friday to adopt a decree-law to mitigate the effects of the flood and define compensation.
Minister Tejerina rejected media claims that water policy had been short sighted, telling the Spanish media that a thaw typical of April or May had combined with a continued rainfall period “nobody could foresee”.
She insisted flood measures must be both short and long term to protect people and the environment.
Ongoing water infrastructure projects in Aragon are worth €850 million, she added.
She said: "We have to start preparing and managing water for today and tomorrow, because that is also protecting the environment, caring for people and safeguarding their interests."
Meanwhile, COAG has requested that the River Ebro be dredged to reduce the chance of further flooding.
It wants to see “realistic and concrete commitments” to economic support.
In its suggestions to the government, COAG said: “It is important to understand river bank inhabitants form an essential part of the environment – measures should take into account people and the environment.”
The Union called for immediate replacement of farm implements and livestock, an extension on the deadline for aid application and social security exemptions for flooded farmers.