22 Feb 2010

Madeira rescuers search for missing after flood

9:31 am on 22 February 2010

Rescue workers are searching for people who may be buried under mud and debris in the Portuguese resort island of Madeira where flash floods have left at least 40 people dead.

More than 120 others were injured and an unknown number are missing, raising fears that the death toll could rise, the BBC reports.

Heavy rain on Saturday brought tonnes of mud and stones down the slopes of the island, flooding the streets of the regional capital, Funchal, and other towns.

Water, power and telecommunications were cut in some areas.

The Portuguese military has sent specialist rescue and medical teams to the island.

The Spanish government has offered its help with the rescue effort.

Portugal's Prime Minister, Jose Socrates, said has he visited the island that he was "profoundly shocked" by the severity of the floods, and promised that his government would help Madeira recover as quickly as possible.