Construction project ‘collapse’ sees eight homes evacuated in Albufeira
SIC's first report on this story, describes "Storm in Albufeira: Wall falls on three homes"

Construction project ‘collapse’ sees eight homes evacuated in Albufeira

Storm sees perimeter wall to give way, metres from people’s ‘precarious homes’

The collapse of the perimeter wall of a construction project in Albufeira’s Montechoro district has seen the evacuation of eight ‘precarious homes’ (in which inhabitants were reportedly awaiting rehousing) ‘for reasons of safety’.

The wall ‘gave way’ shortly after 7.15 on Friday, explain reports. One family found it impossible even to open their front door.

But this appears to have been an accident waiting to happen… for the last two years.

SIC interviewed one local, named only as Fábio, on Friday morning who said residents had been warning of the wall’s vulnerabilities “since two years”, largely because it was built without any kind of foundations. He actually described the wall as “illegal”.

Last summer, he went on, it was already apparent that the wall was ready to collapse.

At the time, he said, the owner of the project (for a swimming pool, beside a private house already built) said there was no reason to “worry” as he was planning a reinforcement of the wall. That clearly did not take place. Following the intense rains of recent days, what residents feared would happen, did – and now the big question, ‘what will happen next?’

Fábio told SIC on Friday that he would not be moving. Whether this has since changed, due to the perceived dangers of further collapse, is not clear, as since this first interview, nothing more about this background story to the collapse has been written.

On Saturday, Correio da Manhã simply said “the causes of the collapse are unknown, under evaluation by technicians”.

Thus even SIC’s insinuation that the wall had collapsed as a result of the bad weather has been pushed into the background.

The interview with Fábio also suggested that the account that residents are to be rehoused is bogus.

“It’s all lies”, Fábio told SIC. “They (meaning local authorities) have never put any proposals forwards”; as for “awaiting rehousing”, he seemed to be saying this too was not quite truthful. Yes, the families are being offered temporary relocation in local hotels, but his concern is that if they leave, they “may never be allowed to come back (…) I am not leaving”, he insisted.

SIC’s report on Friday talked about 13 adults and four children affected by the wall collapse. CM’s story on Saturday described 17 people, including three children.

Whatever the numbers, the story isn’t just about a poorly-constructed perimeter wall coming down following heavy rains. If Fábio’s account is a complete one, these families have been living in these precarious homes in Poço de Montechoro for almost four decades (he described 37 years, 32 of which while he has been alive …). Fábio also seemed to suggest this whole episode has been a pretext to clear the area of these ‘precarious homes’.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com