***Updated 24th January 2020, 10:47
Parts of Spain have been left in ruins by a catastrophic storm that has claimed the lives of at least 13 people. It is believed four people are missing.
Amongst those missing is British man, Ben Garland. There are fears Mr Garland has drowned in Ibiza after no one has had contact with him since Tuesday 21st 2020. It is believed he was riding a motorcycle. His family have arrived in Ibiza to help with the search.
Storm Gloria, which is said to be the worst storm in 30 years, has left a trail of devastation in its wake, with floods, snow and fierce winds of up to 100km/h (62mph). More than 200,000 homes have been left without power. The extreme weather conditions hit popular tourist destinations: Catalonia, Valencia and the southern regions of Murcia and Andalusia. Roads have been swept away by giant waves whilst some residents were forced to evacuate their homes after rivers burst through banks and boats were torn from their moorings and washed onto beaches.
Spanish authorities are expecting the death toll to rise. Four people are still known to be missing in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands.
According to The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Spain’s meteorological office (AEMET) have issued an “extreme risk” weather warning for specific areas. Travellers are advised to check the Spanish Civil Protection Unit for precautionary advice.
Those who are due to travel to affected areas should contact their tour operator or travel agent who may be able offer to alter travel dates or destination.
Travellers who have booked their holiday individually will need to check the cover available under their travel insurance policy. If the accommodation has been affected by the severe conditions and is no longer inhabitable, and the policy offers cover for “Force Majeure”, then they will be covered to move to alternative accommodation or relocating you to a safer area if they are already abroad or cancel the holiday if they are yet to travel. Cover for force majeure may not be covered as standard so check the policy wording carefully or speak directly to the insurer.
The FCO are warning that “high winds and snowfalls may cause road closures and disruption to transport services”.
Extreme weather conditions might be off-putting but it is important to bear in mind that travel insurance will not cover travellers to cancel their holiday or come home early due to disinclination to travel.