Suggestion for Flower Festival 2010

A incredible and great effort is done by everyone to restore Funchal and the rest of the island back to what it was. However I think we should also focus our attention to all the victims and those who lost their lives.

Since the authorities objective is to make sure that the Flower Festival will take place this year …. I would suggest to dedicate the 2010 festival to all victims of 20-2.

Also to honor all the rescue teams, police, firemen, army, navy, emergency personnel, civilian workers and all others who helped to restore the areas affected by flooding. The real Heroes of Madeira. Honoring all of them in this year Flower Festival.

What do you think?

As I am only an individual … I am not the one that makes the decisions … but I hope that someone can take this suggestion to make it happen.

Driving on Madeira

driving

All roads on Madeira are accessible, with the exception of those that are listed as closed on the site of “Serviço Regional de Protecção Civil” (Regional Civil Protection Service).

However these days drivers should be extra careful. A few points to pay attention when driving on Madeira:

Drive carefully. Not too fast, but also not too slow.

– At the moment part of roads and highway are covered with a thin layer of mud, that was spread by vehicles and trucks from the affected areas. When it rains these layers will make the roads very slippery. In that case you need to be extra careful. If possible, avoid driving.

– Island visitors that have rented a car and are driving through the areas such as Funchal, Ribeira Brava, and other by flood affected areas, … please keep your eyes on the road! The driver should not try to deviate his/her sight from the road in order to get a glimpse of what happened. We do not need another victim!

Enjoy your stay!

Clarification of the Situation

By Alberto Vieira:

The circumstances here in Madeira were disastrous Saturday but the dramatic flash floods that have feature in the news headlines were limited to specific areas, so fortunately the majority of Madeira is functioning normally and the airport is fully operational. In the north part of the island nothing remarkable happened.

Some of the Levadas are closed, due to landslides. But before Saturday some of them were already closed. Clients can ask at hotel reception which ones are closed.

Except in the center of Funchal, all around the island, restaurants, shops, places to visit, hotels everything is working normal.

The main problem was Funchal and the downtown, also Ribeira Brava. In the center of Funchal and Ribeira Brava, the rivers just didn’t hold the all water from the rains and the situation if few hours become horrible. The water cross to the roads and took everything with it. The result was floods in the basements of many buildings, specially the shoppings and the underground parking places.

Also in some small country places in Funchal, and Ribeira Brava some landslides occur, destroying some houses and roads, but that’s not a touristic area or even a place to visit.

In only 8 hours it rained more than in the whole month in Funchal.

Records of such a scenario, only in the year 1803. This was a very uncharacteristic rainy day.

Clean up crews are in the streets 24h/day. Some zones will need a few more days to clean up, but by the end of the week in Funchal almost everything will be working under normal conditions.

In the rest of the island, some landslides occur, closing some roads, but nothing very severe. The freeway and the highway are 100% drivable and normal, except in the village of Ribeira Brava the roads are with some mud and dirty, but it’s possible to pass. I think tomorrow it will not be totally clean, but Wednesday it will be operational.

Authorities already informed that are starting to work on Flower Festival for April. No cancellations of touristic programs were made. Every efforts are being made to recover the city to is normal life. Tourist who will visit us in the second week of March will not recognize any difference in the city.

Helping Hand

If you came to this blog searching for images of the disaster … then sorry to disappoint you. We are trying to focus more in helping the victims and restoring the normal life back here on Madeira.

Dioceses Cáritas of Funchal is collecting clothing and other goods to help those most affected by floods in Madeira. They will also inform the local population where the donations can be delivered. However, monetary donations can now be made.

Cáritas Funchal

Address: Calçada do Pico,59 9000-206 – Funchal
Phone:(+351) 291743331
Fax: (+351) 291745714 *
E-mail: caritasfunchal@netmadeira.com
URL: www.caritas.pt/funchal/seccao2.asp?caritaid=14&seccaoid=221

Needs: Clothes, Diapers and baby food needed, Appliances, School Material, Furniture

Donations:
Financial Institution: Banif
Account Number: 1626371377 or NIB nº 003800011626371377113
BIC: BNIFPTPL
IBAN: PT50003800011626371377113

* By sending a fax to the number above a receipt will be sent out to you.

What happened exactly?

Could this phenomenon happen? is maybe one of the most asked questions when looking at the (awful) images that took place last Saturday here on Madeira.

There was no tropical storm … no hurricane …. no cyclone … no devastating hard winds … no tsunami-like waves. Just lots of rain …. plus the fact that …. Madeira is an island!

So how could this happen?

But first …. I am only looking for scientific or climatological explanation … and not political reactions. I do not want to hear/read politics …

My thoughts are the following:
Madeira was plagued by bad weather during the week before. On Saturday 20th of February the combination of heavy rainfall and winds over 60mph saturated the higher mountain regions, plus the fact that there was also snow in that area and the sudden increase of temperature, … caused an immediate swelling of the mountain streams, … resulting in walls of water and mud cascading down the slopes towards the southern coast. The abundance of water could not be handled by the drains and catch basins.

What do you think?

Dark Waters

You will have heard or read about the tragedy that took place here on Madeira Island last Saturday. That is why you were not able to read anything about Madeira through our blog. The loss of telephone and Internet communications, ….. but most of all we had to give our time to support our family, loved ones and friends. That is why we could not offer you news about the situation.

Gratefully the situation is now somewhat back to normal, but we regret to tell you that there were more than 40 mortal causalities. Our sincere thoughts and deepest condolences goes to their family, friends and their loved ones. Also those who are alive but have suffered … we wish them strength.

On Saturday 20th of February the island got caught in bad weather … dark clouds came over and it produced in a few hours time an extremmelly amount of rain. Heavy rainfall took place all over the island … especially in the higher mountain regions. The following result was that all that water from these high regions seeks its way down to rejoin the ocean … through rivers, waterfalls and, due to the abundance of it, the dark waters searched and created news ways to reach the coast. This caused a catastrophic situation for the regions near these waterways.

Again … the destructive part was not caused by winds, nor tropical storm, nor large destructive waves …. but merely the rain that fell on the island. The amount that fell was just overwhelming. Never, as long as people could remember, did they saw such a phenomenon like this here on Madeira Islands. We (Madeira) also experienced that the climate in the world is changing (has changed) … the same as in other countries.
The damage is now being solved and everybody is working hard to restore everything back. Victims are taken care of … thanks to the help from everybody on the island and from abroad.

I will finalize this post with the following message ….
The climate is changing … not only in our Atlantic region but also … in your own country. Madeira will prepare itself, as much as possible, for these changes. I hope that the rest of the world will do the same …

Lugar de Baixo 15-2-2010

The waves are still at war with the marina at Lugar de Baixo (Ponta do Sol). Large pieces of concrete walls have disappeared. How long will the pier hold the rage of the sea?

Madeira and Lisbon 1932

Another great vintage film about Madeira … this time its the year 1932.

In the film we follow the voyage the cruise-ship Gripsholm, after six days crossing the Atlantic it reaches Madeira and then heads towards Lisbon.

The first part of the Swedish film shows great historical coverage of Funchal in 1932. Enjoy!