5/5 © Reuters. Heavy snowfall in Madrid 2/5
MADRID (Reuters) – Piles of plastic garbage bags piled up next to snowdrifts in central Madrid on Wednesday after a historic storm paralyzed the city’s infrastructure, leaving some 9,000 tonnes of uncollected waste on its streets. Garbage collection, which was suspended last Friday, was restarted on Tuesday and had reached 40% of its capacity that night, the city council said in a statement. But dissatisfaction with the city council’s handling of the storm is increasing, especially in the suburbs, according to the federation of neighborhood associations FRAVM. “Many of their streets remain blocked, there is no public transportation and they (the residents) are suffering from a lack of supplies,” the group tweeted along with images of stranded cars, piles of garbage and an ambulance team struggling to get their vehicle out. Only 15% of the roads in the Spanish capital had been cleared of snow and ice by Wednesday afternoon, three days after Storm Filomena crashed in central Spain, causing record low temperatures and cutting transport connections. . Schools, universities and kindergartens will be closed until at least Monday. Some cars drove slowly through downtown avenues, but many smaller streets remain blocked by fallen trees or treacherous patches of ice. As the cleanup continues, politicians struggle to estimate the cost of the storm’s damage. “Madrid will receive a large bill from Filomena, one that will surely exceed several hundred million euros,” Madrid Mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida told COPE radio station, adding that only the hospitality sector has received a hit of 70 million euros. After the storm downed some 150,000 trees, Almeida said his administration will shortly issue a 15 million euro contract to assess the condition of those that remain standing.