Brussels activates Copernicus satellite to assess damage from Storm Gloria
MEPs call on European Union to provide emergency disaster aid and to help safeguard Ebre Delta wetlands
The European Union has activated its Copernicus satellite mapping system to evaluate "the extent of the damages" caused this week by Storm Gloria, which for five days saw strong winds and torrential rain batter many parts of Catalonia.
An EU spokesman said the emergency mapping system had been activated "immediately" after it was requested by the Spanish and French authorities, and that the EU "stands fully ready to provide support as necessary."
In fact, Socialist MEP, Javi López, petitioned the EU to activate its aid mechanism for natural catastrophes to help deal with the fallout from the storm, and called on the union to include "especially vulnerable areas like the Ebre Delta" in its climate change strategy.
The Ebre Delta in the south of Catalonia was one of the areas that was hardest hit by the storm, which left thousands of hectares of rice fields swamped with seawater and the unique flora and fauna of the wetland area put at risk.
Catalan MEPs in exile in Belgium, Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín, called on the European Commission (EC) to take action against Spain's "historic inactivity" in the Ebre Delta and to help solve its "systematic" problems.
In written questions to the EC on Friday, the MEPs, who are fighting extradition by the Spanish authorities, said that the Delta has lost coastal ground to rising sea levels due to the failure of the authorities in Madrid to comply with "the measures laid down in Spanish law."
Meanwhile, the Spanish cabinet met on Thursday to evaluate the damage caused by Storm Gloria and charged various government departments with drawing up preliminary reports so as to be able to put in place state aid for those affected "as soon as possible."