Interior minister, José Luís Carneiro - Photo: MIGUEL PEREIRA DA SILVA/LUSA

Government to declare state of calamity in fire burnt Serra da Estrela

The first phase concerns support for animal feed, the recovery and removal of burnt wood and social support.

The Government will declare a state of calamity to meet the needs of the region of the burned area of Serra da Estrela, announced the Cabinet office minister, Mariana Vieira da Silva on Monday.

According to the minister, the state of calamity will be decreed by the Cabinet and “will give the opportunity for all, State and local authorities, to respond to the needs” of the region.

Mariana Vieira da Silva was speaking to journalists at the end of a joint meeting between the government and mayors of six municipalities covered by the Serra da Estrela Natural Park – Manteigas, Celorico da Beira, Covilhã, Guarda, Gouveia and Seia – and Belmonte, also present because it was affected by flames, to “assess the needs and integrated responses to these municipalities” following the fire that affected the region.

“That is the main guarantee that we brought here, several areas of the government, to show that intervention, here, has to be integrated. From agriculture to the environment, from labour and solidarity to territorial cohesion, from interior governance. It is fundamental that all these areas participate in this reconstruction“, stated the Minister.

Mariana Vieira da Silva said that the government was in Manteigas, one of the municipalities most affected by the fire, and expressed “solidarity” and support for the people who are now “facing a very difficult situation”.

“What we tried to bring to this set of municipalities was the guarantee that, in several phases, we will try to solve all the problems that have been put to us,” she said.

She said that the first phase, which is already underway, concerns support for animal feed, the recovery and removal of burnt wood that poses imminent danger, and social support.

This will be followed by a survey, in the next 15 days, of “all the damage and losses” from the fire.

“From there, the government will approve a set of measures under the state of calamity, so that we can respond as best and as urgently as possible to these regions,” she said.

Five mayors participated: Flávio Massano (Manteigas), Vítor Pereira (Covilhã), Sérgio Costa (Guarda), Carlos Ascensão (Celorico da Beira) and António Dias Rocha (Belmonte).

Two municipalities were represented by their deputy mayors: Célia Barbosa (Seia) and Jorge Ferreira (Gouveia).

Representing the government were the Cabinet office minister, Mariana Vieira da Silva, the minister of the interior, José Luís Carneiro, the minister of labour, solidarity and social security, Ana Mendes Godinho, the minister of the environment and climate action, Duarte Cordeiro, the minister of territorial cohesion, Ana Abrunhosa, and the minister of agriculture and food, Maria do Céu Antunes.

The Serra da Estrela was affected by a fire that broke out on August 6 in Garrocho, in the municipality of Covilhã (Castelo Branco) and was considered to be under control on the 13th but suffered a reignition on the 15th and was considered under control again on the night of the 17th.

The flames spread to the district of Guarda, in the municipalities of Manteigas, Gouveia, Guarda and Celorico da Beira, and also reached the municipality of Belmonte, in Castelo Branco district.

Source: Lusa