Fire-victims “will not be receiving compensation before Christmas”

It’s a bleak prospect, but it is not because the government is dragging its heels. The victims of Pedrógão Grande’s deadly fire six months ago are holding back on presenting their requests for compensation – despite the government’s announcement last month that every one of the 66 deaths will be worth a minimum of €70,000.

The reason, explains Expresso, is that the association representing the victims (Associação das Vítimas do Incêndio de Pedrógão Grande, or AVIPG) wants to make sure every family involved has read the unredacted Chapter 6 of the post-disaster report compiled by forestry expert Xavier Viegas (click here).

Said AVIPG president Nádia Piazza, “people want to know the truth, and their requests will come once this has happened”.

AVIPG will be holding a general assembly this weekend in which “all the matters for discussion will be dedicated to a session explaining the process of requesting indemnities” in the presence of a team of lawyers who have offered their services pro-bono.

As for the date of Christmas looming, “Christmas doesn’t exist this year”, said Piazza.

For the victims of the second killer fire on October 15 (where over 45 people died and 70 were injured, at least 10 very seriously) “the emptiness is total. There are no reports of autopsies, no studies…”

The victims are having to rely on help from their municipal authorities to submit bids for compensation, said Piazza – while their respective association (AVMISP, the association of victims of the largest fire ever in Portugal) continues to say this is just not enough.

Some of those left behind literally do not have enough money to eat, said AVMISP’s president Luís Lagos.

The association meantime is holding fund-raising efforts to help its members, the next one of which will be taking place on December 22 in Oliveira do Hospital.

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has been a fervent campaigner for funds to be advanced to affected populations and will be spending Christmas and New Year this year with the victims of both killer fires.

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