Deadly flash flooding hits Majorca

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At least nine people, including two Britons, have died and others are missing after flash flooding on the Spanish island of Majorca.

A huge wave of muddy water engulfed the town of Sant Llorenç des Cardassar, in the east of the island, after a river burst its banks following heavy rain.

Vehicles were swept away as water gushed through narrow streets.

The Spanish military is deploying more than 100 emergency workers along with sniffer dogs to help rescue efforts.

The neighbouring islands of Ibiza and Formentera have been put under alert as heavy rainstorms move towards them.

A spokesman for the Spanish government told the AFP news agency on Wednesday that the death toll had risen to nine.

He also said at least six more people were known to be missing.

Among the fatalities in Sant Llorenç des Cardassar were a British couple who were swept away while travelling in a taxi, El Pais reports. The driver remains missing, the newspaper adds.

The UK’s Foreign Office said it was “urgently seeking updates” from Spanish authorities following news of the devastating floods.

Two more local people were killed in the town, along with three further victims who died in the coastal town of S’illot.

Emergency services said on Twitter a ninth victim had been found dead – but did not confirm the circumstances.

The area was hit with more than 8in (20cm) of rainfall in just a few hours on Tuesday, according to Spanish meteorological agency Aemet.

A senior official from the San Llorenç mayor’s office told a local radio station that more than 180 litres of rain had fallen in just two hours, describing the situation as a “disaster”.

What efforts are being made to help people?

A regional government says about 400 emergency workers are working to find the missing and help those affected by the flooding.

Refuges have been set up in a local sports centre to provide shelter for displaced residents.

“What is most urgent right now is to find missing people and address the concerns of their relatives and all neighbours,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said while visiting the area on Wednesday.

He had earlier tweeted his condolences to the victims, and the Spanish parliament also held a minute’s silence.

In December 2016, southern Spain was hit with severe weather resulting in widespread flooding and several deaths. Streets in towns near Malaga on the Costa del Sol experienced chest-high water levels.