Damages caused by December 5 flooding in Faro top €2 million
The heavy rain that fell on the morning of December 5 in Faro caused more than €2 million-worth of damage.
“The rain caused a series of damage that today, according to the survey we have, amount to more than €2 million,” Faro mayor Rogério Bacalhau told Lusa news agency last week, adding that a bill of the damage has been sent to the government so that financial support can be provided to those affected.
The downpour on December 5 caused flooding and blocked roads and prevented the opening of schools and shops in Faro, the worst affected municipality in the Algarve, where 92 incidents were recorded.
According to Rogério Bacalhau, the damage to municipal infrastructures – the town hall building, schools, library, market, public spaces and municipal swimming pools – caused losses of between €900,000 and €1 million, a figure similar to the losses sustained by shopkeepers in São Luís, the worst affected area of the town.
This area, situated a short distance from the centre, traditionally suffers major flooding whenever there is bad weather in Faro, as water from several adjacent streets flows into it. In Rua de São Luís, one of the businesses affected alone has registered more than €800,000 in damages, the mayor stressed.
There was also some private damage caused – such as to vehicles – which, according to the local authority’s survey, totals around €200,000, while several other people and companies have also reported damage but have yet to provide the council with figures, although it is estimated to be around €150,000.
Minister for Territorial Cohesion, Ana Abrunhosa, guaranteed around a week after the floods that government support would be provided to municipalities affected.
“Our expectation is that the government may have conditions to support these families and people. Most of the companies are family businesses, and even in terms of private damage, these are people who, with great difficulty, are able to cope with these losses. Therefore, I hope that the government can support them,” said Rogério Bacalhau.
The mayor stressed that no injuries were registered, nor was there any need to rehouse residents since the rain mainly affected stores and businesses.
With the exception of the company that suffered the greatest damage in São Luís, the others are working again, he said.
To carry out this survey, the council contacted all the people in the areas where the water caused the most flooding and consulted firemen’s files with all the requests for help registered that morning to get in touch with those involved and find out about the damage.
Bacalhau reiterated that the flooding that affected the city that morning resulted from the heavy rain that fell in a short space of time and not from the inadequate rainwater drainage system, as some local business owners have claimed, although he admitted that the system is not fit for above normal rainfall values.
“Our drainage system is not bad, and the proof is that it occurred between 7am and 8am with greater intensity, and half an hour later, there was no water left. So, as soon as the water stopped falling, the water ran off,” he said, adding that the critical areas were the São Luís area, the railway station and Largo de São Francisco.
The local authority has commissioned a project, which has been completed, to try to resolve the situation in São Luís, which suffers cyclical flooding, by laying more pipes and more collectors.
“If we do this work, probably 90% of the small floods we have had in recent years will stop happening,” he said, noting that the project will still have to undergo public consultation and that funding will have to be found, as it could cost around €5 million.