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Last Updated: Sunday February 21 2010 13:30 GMT

Deadly floods hit holiday island

Help on its way to flood-hit island

Torrential rainstorms have caused huge mudslides and flooding across the Portuguese island of Madeira.

Tonnes of mud and stones were washed down the island's slopes, flooding the streets of the capital, Funchal, and several other towns.

At least 38 people have died in the storms while many more were injured as trees were uprooted, and cars, roads and bridges washed away.

Specialist Portuguese rescue teams have been sent to help with the clean-up.

Map graphic of Madeira

Portugal's Prime Minister Jose Socrates has also travelled to Madeira to check out the damage and said he'd do everything he could to help.

Madeira is a popular holiday destination in the Atlantic, about 560 miles from the Portuguese mainland.

British tourists there are being advised to stay indoors for their own safety until the floods have gone down.