Rotary Club of Gibraltar – Madeira Wildfires Appeal Week
In order to help victims of the wildfires that have recently devastated Madeira, the Rotary Club of Gibraltar is making the week of 17-24 August Madeira Wildfires Appeal Week. During this week it is possible to make a donation at any one of the Rotary collection tins in Gibraltar which can be found at The Bridge, The Cannon Bar, My Wines, The Rock Hotel, Vinopolis and, on Sunday, the Rotary stall at Ocean Village Market. The total donated through Rotary collection tins will be reported in Rotary Corner in the September issue of GibLive.
Some 2,000 Gibraltarians were evacuated during WWII to Madeira. In 2008, a monument was made in Gibraltar and shipped to Madeira where it was erected next to a small chapel at Santa Caterina park, Funchal. The monument is a gift and symbol of ever-lasting thanks given by the people of Gibraltar to the island of Madeira and its inhabitants.
The city of Funchal and Gibraltar were twinned on 13th of May of 2009 by their then Mayors, the Mayor of Funchal Miguel Albuquerque and the mayor of Gibraltar who had been an Evacuee from Gibraltar to Madeira Solomon Levy.
Your generous aid will help the many families made homeless. Thank you.
Madeira wildfires: Three dead as flames reach Funchal
Three people have died as wildfires raged in the city of Funchal, on the Portuguese island of Madeira.
All three are said to have been elderly people whose homes caught fire. A thousand people have evacuated from homes and hotels.
Fires have also been blazing on the mainland and there are reports of a fourth death in central Portugal.
The government has triggered the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, which enables other European states to help.
Italy has already released a Canadair aircraft to join the effort.
Several arrests have been made of people suspected of illegally starting fires.
Forest fires first took hold in the Portuguese mainland on Friday and on the island of Madeira, off the north-west African coast, on Monday, following weeks of dry weather and temperatures above 35C.
On Tuesday the flames encroached on Funchal, home to some 112,000 permanent residents and capital of an island that attracts more than a million tourists per year.
“Last night, the fire was 100m [330 feet] away from the hotel and you could hear gas bottles exploding,” Ricardo Correia, a manager at the hotel Castanheiro, told AFP news agency. “We evacuated our 140 guests as a precaution,” Mr Correia said, explaining they had spent the night in a sports stadium.
An iconic hotel on Funchal’s outskirts, the five-star Choupana Hills, was gutted by the flames.
Regional President Miguel Albuquerque told a news conference that the fire was still burning on several fronts but was “under control,” AFP reported.
“The situation is complex but not catastrophic,” he said.
President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Prime Minister Antonio Costa have scheduled a visit to the island on Thursday.
On the mainland, firefighters were said to be exhausted after days battling the blazes.
In addition to three deaths in Madeira, a fourth death was reported – a man aged between 40 and 50 in the central region of Santarem.
There were 176 active fires burning on Wednesday afternoon, according to Portugal’s civil protection agency, with 13 causing particular concern – mainly in the north-west of the mainland:
In Agueda, the fire chief appealed for air support in the face of what the mayor said was the worst fire the area had ever experienced, reported Diario de Noticias (in Portuguese)
In Arouca, and Aveiro, large blazes were reported after strong winds fanned the flames
Further north, homes were coming under threat in Santa Maria da Feira, reports said
Some main roads have also been closed
More than 4,200 emergency workers are battling the flames across the country.
Firefighters are said to have blamed poor forest management for the fires, but President Rebelo de Sousa reportedly insisted the country had been well prepared.