President Marcelo spends night handing out food to Lisbon’s homeless

Telling reporters that the government “urgently” needs to create a national strategy to help the homeless, President Marcelo was back in a reflective jacket on Wednesday night, handing out food to those who live rough on the capital’s streets.

This was at least the second time that Portugal’s Head of State has highlighted the problem that peaked during the austerity years, but still persists in unacceptable numbers today.

“A president can never let his feet leave the ground”, indefatigable Marcelo spoke into a battalion of television and radio microphones only hours from visiting the shattered community of Avões, struggling to come to terms with devastating explosions that killed eight at a local fireworks factory (click here).

“Having one’s feet on the ground means seeing a series of problems for what they are, not as reports say they are”, he continued. “Every day.

“It might not resolve much, but it might draw the government’s attention to things that might go forwards a little more…”

Speaking habitually fast, with changes mid-sentence that everyone has become used to, Marcelo showed himself to be visibly more tired than usual – but Wednesday was a particularly busy and emotional day.

Meantime, in Avões, the perimetre for the search-area trying to locate body parts from Tuesday’s explosions has been extended to 600 metres from the initial flash-point.

Theories as to what set off a series of explosions suggest the high temperatures and humidity in the area could have been responsible.

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