Algarve flooding – our debt of gratitude

Dear Editor,

Sunday, November 1, 2015 should have been a rest day for many, but instead it was a day where many in the emergency services put their lives at risk dealing with flood victims in several areas of the Algarve.

There have been numerous instances recorded in the press and social media showing members of the Bombeiros and GNR as well as other emergency services wading or swimming through chest high deep water, with the risk of being hit by floating debris, swept away by currents or falling into dislodged drain covers in order to assist and rescue people. There were those engaged in traffic control and dealing with many accidents exposed to heavy rain and thunderstorms.

They worked throughout the day and into the night, as well as the staff of the ANPC Civil Protection (CODIS), who provided coordination and other logistical support throughout this period. I spoke to the Commander of GNR Albufeira, Major Marco Henriques, who said that although his staff were tired and exhausted, there had been no injuries recorded.

As a community we owe them all a debt of gratitude.

This incident also shows the value of social media in a natural disaster. From the bulletins issued by the IPMA and ANPC early on Sunday, which we shared on our Facebook page, it was clear that extreme weather was forecast with the risk of flash floods. We thank all those in the community who shared this as well as everyone throughout the Algarve, who used social media to share their experiences of what was happening in their areas. This is so important in helping people inadvertently going into areas which are worst affected.

An excellent example of civic mindedness is the formation by a group of Albufeira residents of a Facebook page “Albufeira SOS”, whom we are in contact with, who are calling for donations and support to those affected by the floods in the town.

Our thoughts go to those who have been affected by the floods, in particular our condolences to the family of the 80-year-old who lost his life in Boliqueime. We hope that everything gets back to normality as soon as possible.

David Thomas
President, Safe Communities Algarve