One year after the big snowfall that saw many places in Catalunya grind to a halt, many of the factors that caused problems that day appear to have been dealt with (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). Emergency protocols have been reviewed, in particular those concerning communication, according to the Civil Protection organisation, while Medi Natural is keeping open the channels for dealing with the cleaning up of the 147,000 hectares of forest that were affected by the heavy snow; 200,000 tonnes of wood have already been withdrawn from these areas. Electricity company Endesa, which has been heavily criticised because of the lack of supply to some homes for more than a week as a result of the snow bringing down pylons, has reinstalled more than 200 kilometres of cable and more than 2,500 high- and medium-tension pylons; the company also says that the damaged infrastructure has been reinforced with the latest technology. Barcelona council has agreed with various construction companies to use machinery to get rid of snow in the event of future problems, as well as providing equipment such as thermal blankets to some more isolated schools. The final cost of dealing with repairing the damage caused by the snow on March 8th has risen to €90 million, but there are hopes that this will mean that any future blizzards will not cause similar problems.
The Mossos de'Esquadra have arrested two robbers presumed to have robbed 18 chemists in Barcelona as well as a jeweller's in Rambla de Catalunya (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). According to sources from the police force, since the start of February, they had spotted a pattern of robberies in pharmacies and 'para-pharmacies' carried out by two individuals clearly specialised in these kinds of attacks. One of the pair would stay at the door of the chemists, keeping guard, while the other would enter the premises, with their face covered and with a knife and other weapon, to demand money from the staff, although on occasions, they also used verbal intimidation. The Mossos started an investigation which ended with the arrest last Thursday of two people who had apparently arrived in Barcelona just before starting their crimes.