It is 40 years since one of the greatest tragedies to have occurred in Andorra. On 7 November 1982, the country was affected by the overflowing of the river Valira, following an episode of heavy rain that caused its flow to rise unusually high in just a few hours. The flow of water left in its wake a great deal of damage in all the parishes and, unfortunately, 12 people disappeared and 7 died.
At the time, a strong anticyclone in eastern Europe slowed the advance of a warm and very humid air mass from the south. The mountainous terrain favoured heavy rainfall for more than 30 hours, with 150 mm of rainfall recorded in Ransol, the highest ever recorded since meteorological studies have been carried out. Similarly, some parts of the Pyrenees received more than 600 mm of rain in 48 hours.
Terrified by the situation, some people took refuge on the roofs of supermarkets. Those who were in flats a few metres high were rescued with the shovel of a bulldozer. Faced with the damage caused by the floods, the Andorran population became extraordinarily involved in restoring normality to the Principality, collaborating in clean-up and reconstruction work. In total, the damage cost more than 1,000 million pesetas.
Andorra was not the only area to suffer the consequences of the storm, as the Segre also overflowed in the areas of Alt Urgell, Lower Cerdanya and other municipalities close to the river.
Photographic report: Fèlix Peig / ANA