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Ponta Delgada ,  March 01, 2010

President of the Government visits places affected by bad weather and ensures the commitment of all means in the field

The President of the Government met with the Regional Secretaries who supervise the means to aid the population and the recovery of the damages caused by the bad weather that ravaged the islands of S. Miguel and Santa Maria at the Sant’ Ana Palace on Monday.

Before visiting the location of the accident that took place in the road to Nordeste with a bus and other places affected by bad weather, Carlos César analysed the situation in the beginning of Monday afternoon.

According to the President of the Government, “following the bad weather that particularly hit the island of S. Miguel and, partially, the island of Santa Maria, a special prevention and mobilisation of the public works, forestry and civil protection services were activated in order to prevent and monitor the situation that occurred last Monday.”

“At 8:20 AM there was an accident with a 53-seat bus, involving at least one driver and three children, in a section of the road between Algarvia and Santana. Following a landslide, this bus was dragged into a stream, known as the “Ribeira da Mulher,” where it fell. Part of the bus is located twenty metres below the level of the road.”

“Al least the bus driver and one child are missing. The other two children were immediately rescued by a team of the Forest Services that was near the accident siteand their condition is not serious.

7 vehicles and 21 firefighters are involved in the operation to check the bus and search for the missing victims in addition to other equipment of the Forest Services and the teams of these same Services that are operating in the accident site.”

According to Carlos César, “traffic is being disrupted in some areas the municipality of Nordeste, Povoação and Ribeira Grande, mainly in the road between Maia and Nordeste, Furnas and Povoação, which are closed to bus traffic as the volume of landslides, the intensity of the wind and the heavy rains have endangered these areas; therefore, it is important to prevent the repetition of any situation such as the one that occurred in Nordeste.”

“At the present moment we are carrying out the final stage of the operation to remove people and the vehicles that were in the roads damaged by landslides, particularly in the municipality of Nordeste. Moreover, cleaning operations are being carried out as well as checking operations to the safety of the road sections, support walls and bridges. In the case of the bridges of the João Vaz and Caldeirão streams, the bridge parapet walls were damaged and. As a result of this situation, two teams have been sent to sites to assess the condition of the walls and, until then, this area will be closed to traffic.”

The President of the Government confirms that there are nearly 150 workers of the Regional Directorate for Infrastructures and Inland Transport and of the Regional Directorate for Forest Resources carrying out the aforementioned operations in the municipalities of Nordeste, Povoação and Vila Franca do Campo, in the village of Água d’Alto, in addition to the Firefighter Brigades that are also involved in these operations. We have several rural roads located in the villages of Santana, Achada and Furnas which are currently impassable, but they are not an immediate priority.”

“We have awarded priority status to the commitment of the Forest Service in the clearing of the regional roads as well as to the assurance that these roads are cleared of vehicles or situations that might give rise to alarm so that we may be sure about the conditions of the entire route.”

“All municipalities have registered minor landslides, fall of trees and some car accidents due to the bad weather conditions.”

“With regard to Housing, we have teams of the Regional Secretariat for Labour and Social Solidarity monitoring several cases, most which are minor floods. There have been some temporary evacuations for safety reasons and the Regional Secretary has activated the Housing Funds which provides support in these situations. Moreover, the Psychological Support Services were also activated in the case of the missing victims involved in the bus accident in the road to Nordeste.”

“We also registered some floods and the fall of trees on the island of Santa Maria.”

Carlos César ensures that “we are not only carrying out all the operating services to overcome these problems, but also a verification visit at the level of the political administration of these services. According to data provided by weather services, we estimate an improvement of the weather conditions and, thus, the worst is over. There is a depression heading northwest and occasional short but heavy showers are expected. Furthermore, the intensity of the wind is expected to diminish, although a wind gust of 90 kph was recorded on S. Miguel Island and another of 101 kph on the island of Santa Maria.”

“We think that the worst is over,” concluded the president of the Government, “but have activated all services and we recommend all people to avoid the roads with hazardous conditions, especially in the municipality of Nordeste and Povoação.



Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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