Algarve diocese expresses regrets over delay in supporting victims of Monchique fire
The Diocese of the Algarve has today revealed that despite 16 months having passed after the Monchique wildfires which ravaged the region, it has not yet been possible to use the 113,000 euros collected through fundraising to support the victims, a source from the religious institution told Lusa.
The delay in the application of donations collected for the victims of the Monchique fire back in 2018 was one of the topics which was addressed a few days ago at the 2019 New Year’s Day Mass in Loulé, at which the Bishop of the Algarve, D. Manuel Quintas, vowed that the donations would be put towards those affected by the fires throughout 2020.
Speaking to Lusa, a source from the Diocese of Algarve acknowledged that there are “bureaucratic issues to be addressed” in order to start putting the money towards the reconstruction of houses through the “Porta de Entrada” program – but said he did not truly understand the reason for the delay, which he feels is “exaggerated”.
“Hence what the Bishop must ensure in 2020: let it be the year when those injured by the August 2018 fires in Monchique see their problems resolved and the donors of this diocesan support confirm the timeliness and usefulness of their sympathetic gesture,” stated the same anonymous source.
The amount which the Diocese of the Algarve has in its pocket to aid the affected individuals is 113,820 euros, donated shortly after the fires raged in August of 2018. However, one can’t avoid the fact that it is somewhat suspicious that after such a long period of time, the Diocese has still been unable to do what they promised with the donated funds nearly two years on.
According to the Algarve Patriarchate, the fund recipients have already been identified by local authorities in conjunction with a local parish commission taking in to account social and community scope, underlining that it would be “incorrect” to channel the funds “to destinations other than those first defined” by local authorities.
The fire that broke out on August 3rd, 2018 in Perna Negra, in the Monchique mountain range, was the largest recorded all year in 2018 throughout Portugal and Europe, having been dominated only on the eighth day, on the morning of August 10th. The fire also caused significant damage in the neighbouring municipality of Silves, after having affected, to a lesser extent, the municipalities of Portimão and Odemira. In all, the fire destroyed 74 houses, and over 27,000 hectares of forest and farmland.