Floods in Northern Spain as Ebro River Breaks Its Banks

Levels of the Ebro River have been high for the last 3 to 4 days. By 28 February 2015, the overflowing river had flooded around 20,000 hectares in Aragon, north-eastern Spain.

Since then river levels have continued to rise and have now flooded areas along the river in Zaragoza, the capital of the region and Spain’s fifth largest city.

floods zaragoza spain march 2015
Floods in Zaragoza, March 2015. Photo: Ana

Levels of the Ebro at Zaragoza are now thought to have peaked. Early on Monday 02 March 2015, the river reached 6.10 meters. Several hours later the level had dropped slightly to 6.06 metres. According to Confederación Hidrográfica del Ebro, as of 11:00 today 03 March 2015, Ebro levels at Zaragoza now stand at 5.28 metres.

Ebros River Levels at Zaragoza since 18 February 2015. Image: Confederación Hidrográfica del Ebro

The worst affected areas are Ribera Alta del Ebro and Ribera Baja, according to the regional government of Aragon. Evacuations have been carried out in the towns of Boquiñeni (900 people) and Pradilla (600 people). The displaced found temporary accommodation with relatives or in local sports centres.

Ebro floods from the air, March 2015. Photo: UME
Ebro floods from the air, March 2015. Photo: UME

The flooding has caused damage to bridges and the ARA-1 motorway in Villafranca de Ebro, near Zaragoza.

Bridge collapse after Ebro floods, Spain. Photo: UME
Bridge / road collapse after Ebro floods, Spain. Photo: UME

Spain’s Unidad Militar de Emergencias (UME) or emergency military units, are providing support to flood victims and affected towns. The UME has deployed 450 troops and 145 vehicles to the flooded areas and are carrying out emergency repairs to roads and bridges, as well as carrying out evacuations and flood rescues.

Flood rescue. Photo: UME
UME troops working to clear the floods – Photo: UME
Pumping flood water. Photo: UME
Pumping flood water –  Photo: UME

Floods Moving Downstream

A flood alert remains for Zaragoza, although river levels are dropping. There is now a fear that communities downstream will be affected by flooding. According to Confederación Hidrográfica del Ebro, levels of the Ebro are dangerously high at Ascó in Tarragona province, Catalonia, where the Ebro stood at 4.78 metres at 11:00 today, 03 March 2015. .