Funchal flooding by night ; Road closures around Madeira ; Best way to make donations?

Today’s photo – Many thanks to … Bird : "I guess each of these has its point. My own preference is for no. 3, which has some drama but is technically imperfect (one does not run around with a tripod in disaster areas). For those that prefer poetry, there is no. 4 ("The Avenida do Mar, well named"). But it’s all up to you" … Bird. Many thanks Bird, I think they are all shocking but impressive, and I presume were taken last weekend before dawn … your first name isn’t ‘Early’ by any chance?

madeira news blog 1002 bird funchal deluge 1

madeira news blog 1002 bird funchal deluge 2















madeira news blog 1002 bird funchal deluge 3















madeira news blog 1002 bird funchal deluge 4















I hope we can all wake up this morning and find that all the worry of yesterday has passed, or is passing at least. People were really concerned about the forecast for heavy rain last night, I even saw shops closing early and using primitive means to protect their premises from further flooding. Der.

Many thanks to Becky for these two cheerier videos :

Bailhinho da Madeira.  

Impressions of Madeira.  Footage taken in February 2010, which I expected to be completely rain-soaked, but it finally ends in sunshine looking down on Curral das Freiras from Eira do Serrado.

Tobi kindly sent this in : "I have recorded the BBC Radio 4 interview" HERE Brave man Tobi, I just hope that Sam doesn’t mind, and no one else ends up in the water.

I was sent this by email : "My husband and I have been visiting Madeira two or three times each year since 1990.  We have Madeiran Godchildren and a Madeiran family.  This beautiful island is our second home.   We are devastated by this tragedy but know Madeira will rebuild and survive and become beautiful again.

Our first visit to Madeira in August 1990 was because I had undergone emergency eye surgery in May of that year and, once recovered, I made the decision to only look at beautiful things because I had almost lost my sight.  Madeira was my choice of "viewing" and it has never, ever, disappointed me.  We had our silver wedding anniversary celebration in the English Church in 1998 and have attended the baptism and confirmation of our Godchildren in Câmara de Lobos.

I only wish I knew how to help the Madeiran people who have lost their homes and livelihoods and relatives.  I shall ask the Side-by-Side people in Jersey if I can help through them". Roslyn (full name supplied) England.

Thank you Roslyn … if you want to make a financial donation, there are several routes, covered on this blog during this week, and more. I cannot tell you which is the best route, but maybe some people who have already given could post comments today on their opinions, particularly regarding currency, ease of use, and what are the more official, fast, and direct channels of giving.

This weekends football : Somehow it doesn’t seem right to be talking about football, but life must go on, and maybe a little distraction will do some good in such a distressing week. Anyway, as I have no news to the contrary, I assume that the planned fixtures are being played. First up are Marítimo at 4 pm this afternoon, with an away game at Naval, just 4 points behind our lads. Nacional host bottom club Belenenses on Monday night. 8.15 pm on SportTV1. Belenenses have won just one game in the 20 played so far this season. Top game this weekend is tomorrow night, when Sporting, buoyant after giving Everton a bit of a whipping in the Europa League this week, host Porto. It’s on SportTV1 at 8.15 pm.

Many thanks to Elaine (out West) for this piece from the Diário :

Roads closed around the island. The most complicated situations are those in Meia Légua, Serra da Agua and also Tabua. Several roads remain closed after the storm last Saturday. The west is the most affected, but there is also prohibited or conditional access elsewhere in the region. According to information provided by the Regional Secretariat for Social Affairs Bureau, the following roads in the west are closed: ER 101 (10), between Madalena do Mar and Ponta do Sol, ER 104 between Serra d’Agua and Meia Légua, ER 105 from Boca da Encumeada to Estanquinhos, ER 222, which connects Sítio da Santinha to Ponte, ER 223 at the descent from Jardim do Mar to Estreito da Calheta, ER 227 in Ribeira da Tabua, and ER 229 which connects Lugar da Ribeira (Ponte) to Campanário.

Also still closed are the ER 101 at Caminho dos Pretos (Funchal) and between Ponta Delgada and Boaventura. In addition there are some roads where traffic is restricted. These are the ER 102 between Camacha and Santo da Serra, the RE 103 from Monte to Poiso, and the ER 107, which connects Romeiras to the Nuns’ Valley. The Bureau also draws the attention of motorists to the fact that, while open, the roads should be used with great caution because some have not yet been thoroughly cleaned.

Elaine (out East) is back after a long loss of internet … hurrah … many thanks for these news stories.

DIÁRIO 26/02/2010


Jardim spoke with Barroso – 1.3 billion Euros in damages. Funding will be made at three levels: Europe, State and the Region. The balance is not finalised and losses are guaranteed to be more than 1.3 billion Euros. This figure will be explained to the European Commission at two different levels. First, the banks and the mouths of the most dangerous streams have been destroyed, and the added water transported thousands of cubic metres of gravel and mud, weakened the beds and leaves a threat in the air in case of new rainfall. With more than 100 km of regional roads, which join all of the municipal roads, partially or totally damaged, reconstruction also involves the consolidation of slopes to prevent new landslides. At least three bridges have fallen, their reconstruction involves a large investment or alternative newer safer trajectories constructed. The inventory of damage is still being produced, involving the municipal councils, the Estradas da Madeira and departments of the Regional Government. Jardim will then send this to Brussels along with two Regional ministers. The Council of Funchal has advanced a loss of 140 million Euros for trade and more than 100 million Euros for municipal roads and other structures. This does not include money for intervention in the streams and help required for reconstruction of habitation for those who have lost their houses. Some areas need to construct new infrastructures, for example a new tunnel at Santa de Água will cost 60 million Euros. At the second level, Madeira will have to rebuild newer and safer accessibility and residential areas. There has been major destruction in Serra de Água, Tabua, Funchal, Santa Cruz as well as other counties. The funding will come through grants and lines of credit. The decisive factor may be changing the rules applied by the European Parliament by Portuguese deputies, suggesting a reprogramming of funds from the European Cohesion Fund, European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund on a basis of rapid and simplified procedures making advance payments wherever possible.


Quercus challenge people to speak. The environmental association Quercus published today on the Internet portal a document listing 22 failures in the organization and planning of the territory,  ‘Aluvião no Funchal, 20 de Fevereiro de 2010, o que ajudou que tudo corresse mal?’ Over the past 14 years, the association has pointed out errors and recommendations for risk prevention. In 2003, their Study on the Streams traced the history of landslides and mudslides and recommended measures to prevent them. It is now time for the community to speak about what they saw, whether this is down to extreme nature, climate change or other factors. Using a map of Funchal, they have outlined the three clogged and flooded watercourses and want this to be a starting point of a document for the Public Ministry.

Two more dead in the rubble at Ribeira Brava.  Five dead, two missing and 102 homeless in this county. The two missing bodies that were found yesterday are thought to belong to a family of seven from Pomar de Rocha and the only survivor has had at least one limb amputated. The elderly woman was found in the interior of the residence and the child lying in the bottom of the valley, near the Meia Légua tunnel, just inside the perimeter of the Centro Desportivo da Madeira. The mayor admits there may be more victims in the county, especially along the expressway of Serra de Água which was engulfed by flood waters. The quality of the water supply is poor in the West of Ribeira Brava, especially in Tabua and Banda d`Além. The most troublesome area for the water supply is Serra de Água and Ribeira da Tabua as the only supply to this isolated area has been broken. There are noticeable differences day to day in the county despite setbacks like craters appearing in roads. About 100 homes were inundated, 30 badly damaged and eight levadas flooded in Serra D´Água last Saturday. The population in the areas most affected, Travessa, Quebrada, Romeira and other areas, are returning to normal life but still express fears.

57 landslides in one day. On Saturday, in the peak of the rainfall, between nine and eleven o’clock in the morning, there were 57 landslides in the county of Funchal. São Martinho was the parish least affected whereas Santo António, a highly populated area, was one of the parishes with the most number of victims. The map also shows the number of trees that have been planted in an attempt to prevent flooding. But the process of reforestation was severely affected by years of drought between 2002 and 2005. There is no deadline for completion of the clean up work in Funchal, the machines still clearing the three streams. From Ribeira de São João, three to four tons of stones have been removed, The clearance work is difficult by Marina Shopping and Minas Gerais. It would have been easier to demolish the roundabout – Rotunda do Infante – but the council decided to make a hole in the concrete in this area and this has delayed the work by a day. In the area of Ribeira de João Gomes, the critical points are the Campo da Barca and the Oudinet building. The petrol station has been demolished and will not be rebuilt. At Praia Formosa, there have been 2,250 truck loads dumped, retrieved from the streams and lower Funchal. Link to the map.

Carreiros resume activity in Monte. The wicker basket rides down from Monte to Funchal will resume today. The problems in the final area of Livramento should be resolved today. There are 130 men involved in this type of work and they are wanting to resume as it is their life. Confident of help from Nossa Senhora do Monte because this could have been worse. One of the men, a 39 year old, has lost his house and is residing with his unemployed wife and two children at accommodation of the Scouts in Monte. One of the things he saved from the house was his costume for the work – white dress and straw hat – a tourist symbol for more than 200 years.


Supermarkets keeping prices the same. Food prices will not increase following the disaster. Prices are the same throughout the country at Pingo Doce. The company, Grupo Jerónimo Martins, has contracts that ensure fixed prices throughout the year. Modelo will keep the prices the same to help Madeirans in their hour of greatest difficulty. Grupo Sá will not alter prices to ensure the security and peace of Madeirans. Only 15% of their products are local so they will not have to increase prices with agricultural produce affected by the rain.



Santa Cruz notes extensive damage. Contrary to what may seem by the near silence of the media, the county of Santa Cruz has been hit hard by the storm. 19 houses need total reconstruction, 33 are in need of work and 12 need stabilization work. Some households had to be evacuated as the area was dangerous and there are 184 homeless people (67 households). The mayor asks the population in Gaula and Camacha not to over consume water now the supply has been re-established after a break in the tunnel at Porto Novo. Camacha was the area most damaged by the storm as there has been a high level of rainfall since the beginning of the year, resulting in landslides.

Machico estimate three million Euros loss. Several shops and houses were flooded with water and mud. In the zone of Caramanchão, a dozen hoses were affected by flooding. Many walls and public areas have to be replaced and traffic routes cleaned.

Today’s news headlines from the front page of the Diário de Notícias :

Solidarity with artists and sportsmen – After the support announced by Benfica and Porto, Sporting keeps it [gate?] receipts for Madeira. Marco Polo and Maria da Fé on the list for a concert / show in Funchal on 6th March.

Survivor from Pomar [da Rocha] doesn’t want to return home – The two sisters succumb to the storm, in Arco da Calheta, and José Guarnel is traumatised. Dramas throughout the island. 

Today’s main news headline : State and European Union guarantee €500 million. The EU guarantees just €44 million from the ‘lost fund’. Well short of the €1.4 billion needed to rebuild Madeira according to yesterdays news, and that figure is creeping up by the day.

Barroso visits Madeira on the 12th of March. The (Portuguese) European Commissioner is going to pay us a visit. An interesting question as to whether his roots will ensure he cuts Madeira the best possible aid deal, or will he aim to be seen as impartial and hence rather cold to a tragedy at home.

Lisbon will take on a loan of €240 million and the transfer of another €200 million.

The Madeira Government announced €20 million grant for affected traders.

Councils exempt citizens and businesses from IMI.

The main photo today is accompanied by the headline : Rumours make nervous and empty Funchal. The rumours were back on the attack during the day yesterday, consisting of false orders for the evacuation of the capital up until 18.00 hours. Later, the Civil Protection came forward to correct the ‘alarm’ situation, such as Meteorology did with a ‘hurricane’ [rumour ?]. But in the meantime there were citizens fleeing, and shops and services rushing to close early. Much the same over my way in Ribeira Brava, with shops and businesses closing early, and hasty attempts at waterproofing premises against further water damage. By 9.30 pm last night, before even a gust of wind or a droplet of precipitation, the place was a ghost town. All (so far) unwarranted, as after a night of on and off winds and rain, a nice sunny day has appeared. River levels are low, although there was a very small flash flood not long before midnight. There are reports on the radio this morning about damage caused by the very strong winds.

The latest information given yesterday was that the depression did not put the island at risk, however calling for caution in the early morning.

20 families evacuated as a precaution.

Meeting between Sócrates and Jardim is already scheduled for Monday – There will be a summit between central and regional government in order to work out the support from the state for Madeira, in the succession of the storms. [Prime Minister] Sócrates and [Finance Minister] Teixeira dos Santos are available. Jardim (who yesterday was checked out in hospital following an ailment) says he is confident.

In Funchal, [Miguel] Alburquerque continues summarising the effects of the storm, despite of the ‘insinuations’.

If anyone else can oblige with the translation of any of the ‘blank’ or sparsely filled headlines, or other news stories, here is the link. All contributions much appreciated. 

BY EMAIL : News from Prazeres to Riviera Brava : Update on conditions from Prazeres to Ribeira Brava this morning (Saturday). The roads are OK but care is needed as there are large rocks at the side of the roads. Madalena do Mar has appeared to have lost the bridge at the end of the river, so the walk way down the front has collapsed. Diggers are at present removing a large amount of debris from this area.

At the roundabout at Tabua there are diggers removing very large boulders that cover the road up to Tabua, some as large as 5ft in diameter.

Some more of the wall at Lugar de Baixo has given way with huge waves crashing over the other parts, the area around the pool is unrecognisable, it is littered with debris. The road down has had another rock fall.

The roads from Paul da Serra to Canhas, Prazeres and Arco da Calheta are passable with care, as the rock falls and trees have yet to be cleared from the side of the roads.

Regards. Selina. Many thanks Selina, lots more news on damage overnight coming through on the news.

If you can, please contribute something Madeira related. A funny story or good or bad experience, a news item, or a story from a Madeira newspaper, a photo or video, a teaser, news of a bargain flight or item in a supermarket. Please help keep this blog going … without user contributions it won’t survive. Please don’t send in automatic translations (like Google translator) without checking them through and correcting them first, thanks.

You can email [email protected] with any large contributions and photos / videos.


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15 thoughts on “Funchal flooding by night ; Road closures around Madeira ; Best way to make donations?”

  1. Just to update anyone checking in early, the new storm came with extremely high winds just after 11 pm last night, with heavy rain, but didn’t last too long. Maybe more to come … but I really hope not.

    If the internet goes down again, please forget me, I am not important, and just post any news / chat items in the blog comments. Please don’t email me if I don’t appear, as I just couldn’t manage the volume last week.

  2. The high winds woke me at 5 this morning but although it has rained throughout the night, I don’t think it’s been too heavy. The local news channels are not reporting anything from the south of the island & Funchal. However, it looks as if there may have been some problems on the north side.

  3. Luckily so tired, that I’ve slept through any wild winds. Going in search of food last night was a sad affair, as I walked from Rua Conde de Carvalhal all normal routes finished and I found myself semi-wading through muddy deserted side streets. I was helped back by an angel of a Madeiran who used his umbrella to poke into the mud to check it’s depth as we trudged back uphill. “Obrigada” was never more heartfelt. By the way, I sent the rainy youtube clip to Der very early morning last Sat, just in case it appears rather mistimed.

  4. Hi Der,

    woke up at 4 am
    check out the east river.
    was not so bad

    filled up again with small rocks. My estimate is one meter high from yesterday bottom of the river bed.

    Also one can listen to my BBC Inter. radio live interview. Date 22/02 time 6:25 a.m.
    and BBC Wales 22/02 at 4:35 p.m.

  5. hello amigos da madeira nos aquin ficamos muitos triste comas noticias da nossa ilha da madeira para vos un grande abraco de tanta amor para todos danossa maderia com unagrande coragen na vossa vida desta vossa amiga gloria e family para todos da maderia efreguesia do jardin da serra camara de lobos e para os meus amigos do funchal e familia da gloria envio uma paz de amor para todos adeus

  6. Zita, really sorry to hear that your brother is missing. This is the list of recorded missing persons published today, now just 8 people, and your brother is not on the list. Have you contacted the authorities in Funchal, as maybe that the list has reduced substantially they may have some news on your brothers whereabouts. I hope you get some good news soon.

    Susana Micaela Sousa Pinto
    Anacleta Macedo Silva – Ribeira Brava
    Carla Patrícia Abreu Pita – Ribeira Brava
    Maria da Conceição Freitas – Jardim da Serra, Câmara de Lobos
    Manuel Araújo Nunes – Laranjal –Santo António
    Soraia Patrícia Gomes Pereira – Santo António
    Diana Raquel Abreu Pereira – Santo António
    Alexandre Faria Clemente – São Gonçalo.

    Contact number given for missing persons : 92 579 08 07

  7. Just to add that it is the road down from Estreito da Calheta to Jardim do Mar that is closed, just beyond the Irish Bar that was. There is a massive landslide before the tunnel into Jardim and I understand that the route out of Paul do Mar is also closed.

  8. Just to give a happy note I collected someone from the airport this morning, we lunched and then headed for RB – sailed the whole way (didn’t mean that to be a pun) no problems and the clearance work already completed is quite incredible. Can we give people more cheerful news we need ‘after’ pictures now so the tourists return in numbers.

  9. Waves are really high today with high tide at 1pm, the wall round the lido swimming area has seen some damage as a result of the battering its had all winter , but this will be quite quick to repair i think.

    really nice sunny day today, and hope to have a collection of clean up photos by the end of tomorrow night.

  10. The Press in Britain have now lost interest as they have in/of Haiti.
    Most people I have spoken to in Ford Anglia who have an interest casual or otherwise in Madeira because of holidays or family contacts and have followed the flood reports are extremely impressed by the rate of clear up.
    In fact many Anglos would like Madeirans to be in charge of snow clearance and public works over here.

    The contrast between those here who can “talk the talk” and the sleeves rolled up Madeirans is extraordinary, as no doubt is the rate of pay.
    I know who form the most deserving and under-rewarded group.

  11. Just return form Monte.

    Baboses is destroyed totally. church standing there Friday a week ago is a pile of rumble.
    two huge rocks like 2m high rolled over the church like a bomb.

    only the steps of the church and back washrooms survived

    clean up in progress

    sad view, pictures sent to Der.

  12. The following is taken from the English Church website in Madeira and contains details of how to donate to the Madeira Appeal:

    “The other major project is the Appeal for Madeira. As yet, there is no official body set up, and so we feel that it would be best that if anyone would like to donate money, and many have indicated that this is the case, it is sent to the church, and at the appropriate time, we will ensure that the money is passed to the proper place where it will be used to the benefit of the Madeiran people.

    We can assure you that gifts will be recorded and ear-marked for this project only.

    If you would like to donate in Euros, we can accept cash, or cheques which should be marked The Madeira Appeal and made out to:
    Holy Trinity Church and sent to
    Rua da Quebra Costas
    18 – 20 9000 – 034 Funchal

    For Sterling gifts these should also be marked The Madeira Appeal and made out to
    The Diocese in Europe and sent to
    The Diocese in Europe
    The Finance Officer – Nick Wraight
    14 Tufton Street
    Westminster London SW1P 3NZ
    United Kingdom

  13. We came to Madeira for the first time in January 09 as my post-op recovery holiday. Absolutely loved the place and the people. Very sad to hear and see Funchal, but we return to Funchal this Monday, March 8th. We want to support the tourist industry and the people of Madeira, I believe lots of people feel the same way.

  14. Thanks for discussing your ideas. I’d personally also like to convey that video games have been actually evolving. Modern tools and enhancements have made it simpler to create practical and fun games. These types of entertainment video games were not really sensible when the concept was first of all being tried out. Just like other designs of electronics, video games as well have had to develop by way of many many years. This itself is testimony on the fast continuing development of video games.


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