Mayors of fire-ravaged boroughs demand investigation into missing donations

Three months on from the deadly fires of Pedrógão Grande, local mayors have come to the devastating conclusion that “dozens of bank accounts” set up to raise funds to help populations get back on their feet have been ‘ransacked’ – the money “diverted” to destinations unknown.

Today (Tuesday) the mayors of Pedrógão Grande, Castanheira de Pera and Figueiró dos Vinhos are due to call on the Public Ministry and Bank of Portugal to open an official investigation.

Valdemar Alves – mayor of Pedrógão where 65 people died as a result of the blazes which broke out in June – says the situation on the ground is one of unease and distrust.

No one appears to know how many accounts were opened in the aftermath of the tragedy, and there is no clear picture of where the €13 million said to have been raised has gone.

Said Alves, there is also concern that accounts opened in other countries have “been diverted”.

“We simply don’t know where the money has gone”, he told jornal i.

Says negocios online, “after the tragedy, various funds were created by diverse entities to channel funds to the victims. The Portuguese Misericórdias union for example collected €1.2 million, while Coimbra’s Cáritas collected €900,000. The Government also created a solidarity fund to coordinate the delivery of funds, called Revita”.

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