Around 2,000 rally to fight Galicia's second disaster

11th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

11 August 2006, MADRID – As Galicia’s fire crisis continues, satellite images from the European Space Agency (ESA) showed a total of 10,000 hectares in the region have already been destroyed.

11 August 2006

MADRID – As Galicia’s fire crisis continues, satellite images from the European Space Agency (ESA) showed a total of 10,000 hectares in the region have already been destroyed.

On Friday, ESA made Spain its image of the week for the second week running, showing images of the columns of smoke across the ravaged north-western region of Spain.

Last week Spain was the image of the week when ESA highlighted the heating up of the Mediterranean Sea, which has led to larger-than-usual amounts of jelly fish on Spanish beaches.

On Friday evening, the scale of the environmental disaster in Galicia became clear as firefighters, reinforced by the Spanish army and assistance from other countries, struggled to extinguish 123 blazes which continued to burn.

It is now a week after the first fires began and some of the blazes continue to come close to homes.

Galicia’s regional government, the Xunta, announced 1,886 volunteers have answered an appeal to help the region tackle the crisis.

The large number of individuals phoning the Galician Mountain Defence phone line is reminiscent of the way Spaniards rallied round during the Prestige crisis in 2002, the country’s worst environmental disaster ever which also occurred in Galicia.

Then, large numbers of volunteers helped in the clean-up operation after a fuel tanker sank off the Galician coast, spilling thousands of tonnes of crude oil into the sea, which washed onto the shore.

By Friday afternoon, 400 of the volunteers had already been incorporated into the emergency effort. Around 100 are firefighters from Firemen Without Borders in Malaga, from Extremadura and from Barajas airport.

The rest of the volunteers are non-professionals who will be assigned duties like prevention and surveillance, taking orders from professionals.

Another 1,000 volunteers were awaiting instructions to join the emergency relief. In a statement, the Xunta said: "The volunteers are necessary now but later on they will be essential".

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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