ANIMAL RIGHTS

VIDEO: Drowning animals in Marbella saved after plea for help goes viral

Volunteers rally after activist Virginia Ruiz posted shocking footage of flooded farm on Facebook

Animal activist Virginia Ruiz during the rescue.Virginia Ruiz / EPV

A video posted over the weekend by a Spanish animal rights activist highlighting the desperate conditions of farm animals trapped by floods in Malaga province following unusually heavy rains there went viral, eventually attracting volunteers to help with her rescue mission.

In the video, Virginia Ruiz films the devastation around her, with water up to her knees, and can be heard saying: “The sheep, the cows, the water is so high, the cats are swimming and the chickens are dead. Somebody open those sluice gates!”

The heaviest rainfall in two decades lashed Malaga’s Costa del Sol on Saturday and Sunday

After posting the video on her Facebook account, which attracted more than a million viewings in 24 hours, volunteers made their way to the farm in San Pedro de Alcántara, a small town some 10 kilometers inland from Marbella, in Malaga province. They were able to rescue a number of animals, although some 40 had drowned or succumbed to exposure from the rain and cold.

The heaviest rainfall in two decades lashed Malaga’s Costa del Sol on Saturday and Sunday, flooding the streets of the city of Malaga and nearby towns, killing one woman and prompting the Spanish government to issue a public safety warning.

At one point, Spain’s meteorological service on Sunday issued a red alert, its highest level of warning for extreme risk.

Television footage showed rainwater cascading down streets in towns such as Estepona, reaching as high as the tops of cars. Cattle and horses were trapped in fields with flood waters reaching up to their haunches.

The local government said more than 600 emergency incidents had been reported due to weather and 300 rescue workers were working on Sunday to help people.

English version by Nick Lyne.

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