Water, water everywhere … & lots of mud too. Ribeira Brava flood special 20 February 2010

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Mud ankle deep, and water knee deep met many of those who left their front doors this Saturday morning. Torrential rain throughout the night fulfilled the weather forecasters dire prediction all over Madeira. As I type this, I count myself lucky to have electricity, but no home telephone, no internet, no mobile phone, no TV, but luckily a radio station was still operating, telling similar stories all over Madeira. There was no traffic in downtown Ribeira Brava, even several hours after the worst had passed, with roads impassable with logs, mud, water, and all sorts of other debris littering the cobbles and tarmac.

The force and volume of the water was so great and so high that it took out both walls on the second bridge back from the sea front. Add to that torrents of mud coming down both sides of the valley, along the roads, and through the numerous new waterfalls created. The combination of these events led to water laden with thick brown mud invading the front end of the town. The deepest water I saw remaining was in the São Bento church square, where it was level with the wall that separates it from the children’s play area.

Later in the day, the same bridge collapsed on one side, and was closed off. A large fissure also developed in one of the arches. For sure Ribeira Brava has lost one of it’s oldest and most famous landmarks, as the damage seems just too major for repairs. Also later in the day a pavement alongside the river (outside the police station) also collapsed, leaving the top of a planted tree sticking out of the huge cavity.

When the wind dropped and the rain eased off, I ventured into town and took these pictures. Ordinary people were helping out in the street, alongside a full contingent of emergency services vehicles and crew, and it looks like the council had it’s complete workforce out in the streets trying to ease the situation. People were collecting logs and constructing dams to stop the water entering their streets to protect their homes. The most popular tool seemed to be the common dustpan, use to scoop up the thick mud to put in-between the logs used to construct the mini dams.

The sea was pretty rough, but I have seen worse. Thick with mud, and the debris was so thick that the waves were breaking over the debris rather than the beach, which was probably a blessing.

I wandered around for an hour taking pictures, stunned by the sight each time I turned a corner. Not a shop or café was open. Lots of people milling around, many looking equally stunned, but the cameras were out in force nether-the-less. A town already well down on it’s luck for economic reasons will be hit hard by this mini-disaster, that will take weeks to clear up, and months and even years to effect all the repairs.

You probably already realise that I wrote this for yesterday, but of course losing the internet connection prevented me posting, and I didn’t get the internet back until after 5 pm today (Sunday). Today in town, there are still some shocking sights, but the clean up operation is going really well.

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137 thoughts on “Water, water everywhere … & lots of mud too. Ribeira Brava flood special 20 February 2010”

  1. So glad you are OK, Der. It has been shocking to see the pictures of Funchal, a place I know so well in such a state. I don’t know Ribeira Brava as well, but terrible to see your pictures too. Hope everyone you know is safe.

  2. From Diario:

    Call for solidarity
    Clothing, furniture and houses
    Date: 21/02/2010

    There will be a warehouse open in Rua do Panamá, in Nazaré, where people can deliver home goods. ie, furniture, tableware and various other objects well as clothes.

    In addition, the HMI appeals to people with empty houses, especially in Monte and Sao Antonio to make contact with them. From tomorrow, the institute is willing to pay rents to market value.

    This is necessary because so many homes are needed for evacuees. Yesterday 25 families were resettled in Funchal, the equivalent to about 100 people.

  3. Good to hear you are Ok after this terrible ordeal.
    It is also comforting to see people pulling together and I hope that this will apply to all communities.
    Our thoughts are with you all,especially the bereaved and those that have lost their homes.

  4. glad you are ok, Der. Ribera Brava looks terrrible.
    believe it or not, news of the flooding and landslides has reached the papers Toronto, Canada. is there someone who can tell me how Arco do Calheta has been affected?

  5. Glad you are back online Der. The messages show that the blog community are an important source of information and support in a crisis situation. Here in the Uk it would be difficult to get such relevant information without it.

  6. This is a poor substitute for the usual high standards and huge amount of detail we are used to but the diario website covers the following stories.

    Access to nuns valley now open. In that area one dead, one missing and no injured.

    30% of Funchal have no water supply. Ongoing work hopes to reduce this to 20% by tonight. Auto-tanques, which I presume to be tanks of fresh water will be brought in.

    Currently 42 dead, 120 injured, 248 missing in total.

    Schools shut in Funchal Monday and Tuesday, reason given “lack of transport”

    University shut until Wednesday

    Machines recovering stones from rivers. Ribeira de Santa Luzia in Funchal has 5 metres depth of stone over a distance of 500 metres.

    Serra D’Agua isolated as road destroyed. 5 missing. 2 bodies found in mud.

    Dolce Vita shopping Centre closed but cleaning under way and aiming to get back to normal as soon as possible.

  7. Der

    I couldn’t believe the photos I was seeing of R.B. I was very shocked to see the news yesterday about the land/mud slides. Can anyone tell me if Funchal out towards Maderia Forum has been affected (I have friends in that area) and haven’t been able to reach them by phone (I do realise that landlines could well be down), mobile, net, etc The damage from the photos on this site and on the news generally so devasting, that it will take a long time to put right. Are the areas primarily affected Santa Cruz, Funchal? or many other areas too. I saw something on the news about a promenade being destroyed, was that the one at the Lido?

  8. I can I echo the thoughts of many, total disbelief at the devastation. This blog has for us been our primary source of information about areas affected. Living in western canada where the only news is olympics 24/7 we appreciate all the information supplied by contributors. Managed to contact family in Monts and San Goncal who are all safe but have no idea if our house in santa luzia is still there.

    Ribera Brava soo sad, we had a great evening at the Don Luis restaurant last July.

  9. We were so sad to see so much destruction. We visited Funchal in Dec. 2009. Very beautiful and vibrant city. We came in on the Celebrity Solstce and felt the area was breathtaking. Where do people send donations that will actually do some good?

  10. Found this on the telegraphs website who have the name of the British lady.

    Pamela Gaines, 50, from Driffield, north Humberside, was travelling between hotels with her husband, George, 54, and another British couple when their taxi was swept away by a torrent of water from a swollen river.
    Mr Gaines and the other couple, named locally as Roger and Gillian Wilson, managed to escape from the vehicle and were treated for injuries at hospital.

    Mrs Gaines, whose three sons arrived on the island last night, and the taxi driver were swept away. Their bodies were recovered yesterday after being missing since Saturday morning.
    The British couples were holidaying together on the Portuguese island and had decided to leave their hotel in the capital, Funchal, to stay overnight in a 19th-century converted manor house, 15 minutes drive away.
    Mr Gaines and Mr Wilson were discharged from hospital within hours, but Mrs Wilson was yesterday still at the Nelio Mendonca Hospital, in Funchal, where she is being treated for chest injuries.
    A spokesman at the hospital said: “Her condition is stable and her injuries are not life-threatening although we expect to keep her for a week to ten days.”
    The death toll rose to 42 on Sunday in the worst floods on the island for a century.

  11. Very shocked to see the devastation having been in Ribeira Brava for coffee on Tuesday last with the residue of the 7m sea waves still crashing in.

    I have close friends in Sao Vicente, but unable to get through with phone lines down. Any news as to how the town has faired.

    good to get news on here and thank you

  12. So glad you’re OK and back on line. All the TV news was about Funchal and we wondered how Ribiera Brava was faring. It’s going to take an awful lot of energy and tons of money to fix the damage – hopefully the island will get help from the EU.

  13. Pleased you are safe and back online. So sorry to see the pictures of Ribiera Brava.
    This blog has kept us up to date – thank you for that
    Thinking of you all in Madeira.

  14. RG3 – Portuguese Army
    Address: Rua Corveta Estefânia, Nazaré São Martinho 9001-601 Funchal
    Tel: (+351) 291765579

    Accepting clothes and essential food items (non perishable)

    Cáritas Funchal
    Address: Calçada do Pico,59 9000-206 – Funchal
    Phone:(+351) 291743331
    Fax: (+351) 291745714
    E-mail: [email protected]
    URL: http://www.caritas.pt/funchal/seccao2.asp?caritaid=14&seccaoid=221 (Portuguese only)

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

    Financial Institution: Banif
    Account Number: 1626371377 or NIB nº 003800011626371377113

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

    IHM – Investimentos Habitacionais da Madeira, E.P.E.
    Rua Dr. Pestana Júnior, 6 9064 – 506 Funchal
    Tel:+351 291 207 220 Fax:+351 291 225 161

    If you have a house to let for those that had their house destroyed please contact urgently.

  15. How awfull, what a mess. It seems that the weather has really made for future hard times. I was in Setubal in January and it was wet more than usual. I live in San Diego, California and WE were going to get a lot of rain, but not so far. My condo in Setubal has been hit with lots of rain since I left and my friends who live there have cabin fever stuck in their house for so many days.
    Good luck with the clean up!

  16. Can confirm Funchal tourist/hotel area (Casino to Forum Madeira) totally untouched. Disaster character was flash floods in ravines/river beds that usually have just a trickle. Awful damage but, on the whole, rather local. Total number of homeless families 39, missing persons now officially just 4 (four). Airport fully operational since Sunday morning, power failures just local, but roads and bus connections chaotic/nonexistent.

  17. Hi everybody,

    Glad to see all the names popping up on the blog. Reassuring to know you are all out there and hopefully safe.

    Don’t suppose you would believe we didn’t know about this until 5am today. Saturday tons of rain flowing like a river down the road at the house (Prazeres). A small tree slid down the banking and was quickly removed. Landline phone went off and mobile so we were a bit cut off. TV reception was terrible because of the weather so we didn’t have the news on. Our family in Scotland were panic stricken about us because they couldn’t get in touch and we didn’t even know what had happened.

    Eventually got communications going this morning and was amazed at all the e-mails asking if we were okay.

    My daughter sent a web address which shows pictures of Funchal and Ribeira Brava. No wonder they were worried about us.

    Couldn’t believe the devastation – it is all so sad.

    Yes, I agree the blog is important – even more so in such tragic circumstances.

  18. So sorry for all of the people affected by the flooding. I have family living in ESTRADA MONUMENTAL, near REIDS HOTEL, CLIFF BAY HOTEL, PESTANA PALMS HOTEL & LIDO, they say this area is unaffected. Mobile phone and home phone connections are good. I have family flying back today to uk, so will get more info then and write here then. Many thanks for this website and the listed links to Madeiran services as this has enabled me to get valuable information.
    Sincere condolances to all of the families that have suffered in this disaster.

  19. Hope the English Church can help out, especially if the buildings and new gardens are undamaged and the congregation willing and able.
    British Cemetery looked in a mess on the news, but might be another local site–wasn’t clear
    Would set a good example if the church was seen to be active in relief work, don’t you think?

  20. Devastating pictures can not believe this , terribly worried about my sister in law had to evacuate house just after Sa in front of Miminhos coffe shop do you know who bad is this area any news will be greatly appreciated

    May god be with you all

  21. Devastating pictures can not believe this , terribly worried about my sister in law had to evacuate house just after Sa in front of Miminhos coffe shop do you know how bad is this area any news will be greatly appreciated

    May god be with you all

  22. So sorry for the people of Madeira. Spent a very happy holiday there last year and loved the island. My sympathy to those who have been hurt and those who have lost someone.

    I know you’ll bounce back – you’re so proud of your island and I know that spirit will have it looking at its sparkling best as soon as is possible.
    Good luck

  23. Saturday 20th February 2010 – Ribeira Brava, Madeira Island
    At approximately 2am this morning the start heavy rainfall we had been warned of came. Little did we know then that this torrential rain was to fall relentlessly for over 10 hours without a let up.
    At 9am we were alerted by an unusual sound which on investigation we found to be was small rockfall caused by a local levada channel having become blocked so that the water was gushing in torrents down the local road and washing vast amount of mud and rocks down on empty land at the side of our house and our four tier garden had become one massive waterfall.
    Just after 10am the electricity supply failed and I settled down with a book to read whilst we sat it out.
    At 2.30pm I sent a couple of text messages to people in other areas on the island to ask if they were also without power. I received a message back from Funchal to say that there had been some flooding and a lot of mud on the roads some of which were now closed but that they had power.
    At around 4pm when there was a let up in the rain we started to notice a lot of people gathering on a mountain ridge on the opposite side of the valley that we live in and John went to investigate, when he returned 20 or so minutes later he told me that until I saw it for myself I would not believe what he had seen so I got myself ready to go back with him.
    At 5pm I was standing on the roof of a house at the top of the ridge and looking down on to the lower road of Tabua. At the top end just before the wood yard the bridge (that is also part of the road) that crosses the road and river below had collapsed along with part of a newly built local access road, this now meant that some houses were teetering on the edge of what had now become part of the river. 200 metres or so further down the road just in front of the sanatorium the whole road had collapsed into the river another 20 metres from there a house had collapsed, and then it was the back of a car workshop in the river. When it came to the bend in the road (another bridge) the river had finally burst its banks completely and was now flowing in torrents down what remained of the main road and the river to the coast and causing considerable flooding to the 6 or so houses 3 of which were right in the middle of its path. Luckily the owner of the car lot had managed to clear his forecourt but there were other vehicles that had not had such a lucky escape and these could now be seen half buried in water, mud & rubble.
    We then made our way up to the local bar where we were told that an even worse catastrophe had occurred in Mar da Rocha which sits at the side of the mountain high up above Modelo on the road to Furna. Here a house had been completely crushed by boulders at approx 10am and had killed 6 of the 7 occupants. The survivor, an 18 year old had apparently been rescued at around 4pm.
    By 7pm we had further learnt that the old road bridge crossing the river in Ribeira Brava had also collapsed and the church, the post office and various other businesses which are set in a large square well below road level were standing in flood water approximately 3 ft deep. This caused the remainder of the lower part of the main road to be closed.
    There were also reports of further damage and flooding in Serra da Agua and Lugar do Baixo and that also another 2 bridges has collapsed higher up in Tabua. There had also been considerable rock fall and mud slides along the only other route into Ribeira Brava, including the entrance to the cemetery which succeeded in cutting the whole of Tabua, Corujeira, Apresentacao, Furna and other areas off almost completely however this has since been cleared enough to allow access into and out of the area. However, as far as we know the areas further west of Ribeira Brava are still at present cut off from this direction.
    It wasn’t until much later in the evening when the power was finally restored that we learnt of the considerable damage and loss of life that had been caused in Funchal.

  24. So, so sorry to hear of the destruction on the beautiful island of Madeira, the loss of life and numbers of injured/homeless people. Our hearts go out to you all.

    I knew very little of Madeira until we started looking for a holiday a few weeks ago. I soon decided that this was the place I had to visit. I could tell that it is very charismatic and charming. We have booked, we are due in Funchal on 1st March and will probably still come but are in a torment on indecision at the moment. Having been recently bereaved myself, we really need a relaxing and stress free holiday to recuperate but also want to be supportive to the islanders at this terrible time. Trouble is – would we be a hinderance or a help? And will we be able to get around the island and transfer OK from the airport?

    We are staying at the Melia Madeira Mare for one week. Anyway, we are calling in on the travel agents today to check all is well at the hotel and what their official advice is. Really hope that we can still come but if we don’t this time, we certainly will soon.

    Our very best wishes and sympathies to you all.

  25. Hi Der,

    Thanks for the valuable information. How is the road network between the West end of the island and Funchal? Have heard that Modelo in RB and the new sports stadium have been ‘wiped out’, is that the case?

    Keep up the good work.

  26. Banif Bank have set up a disaster fund, details below for anyone wishing to make a contribution
    I have been to the Banif bank and these are the details of a fund set up for the disaster
    Fund Name…………Solidariedade Madeira 2010
    NIB 0038 0040 50070070771 11
    IBAN PT50 0038 0040 50070070771 11
    Swift/Bic BNIFPTPL
    Bank Address
    Banco Internacional do Funchal S.A.
    Sede Social: Rua de Joao Tavira 30
    Funchal 9003 509

  27. As far as I am aware there are no closures within Hotels, I have been down along the Promenade walk today and all is well, That area is relatively unaffected – I would say to everyone , please come, although many places have been devastated, you will still be able to get to certain areas, and the are around the Lido is business as usual. Melia, and the other hotels in the are are all as normal, no structrual damage except to odd swimmimg pools which are right on the seafron, including the Lido pool. Madeira Explorers tell me that their guides are all out today checking if any walks are ‘usable’ and tomorrow afternoon should have a list of any which can be walked.

  28. Does anyone know if the Island Escape cruise ship was able to get into Funchal this morning? The harbour webcams seem to be down at the moment so can’t see from here.

    Hope everything and everyone are back to normal as soon as possible.



    We have escaped the worst and whilst we had a HUGE land/mudslide above us that turned our road into a raging river for a while, the house did not flood and apart from a few “drips” inside, we suffered no real damage – unlike some of our neighbours, flooded, mud etc. We all did what we could to help one another and Everybody is doing a great job clearing up ….we can now get through the top road that was blocked in two places – boulders, trees and mud etc.


  30. Hi all,

    So good to see so many names popping up on the blog.

    We didn’t even know of all the devastation taking place. All we had in Prazeres was a small tree falling on the road which was quickly removed. It did seem as if a river was flowing down the road outside our house right enough and the rain was both constant and torrential. Then the phones (landline and mobile) wouldn’t work. I got up at 5 am this morning, great – phone working – put on TV news and could not believe what I was hearing. It is so sad.

    Why I am writing in is my daughter contacted the British Consulate because she was so worried about us. Apparently Jardim do Mar and Paul do Mar were out of contact and they couldn’t get anyone in because of the state of the roads. We live virtually above there – hence the worry.

    Anyway, once we were back in contact my daughter got back to them to say we were safe and the Consulate then got in touch with us a short time ago just to double check. The person I was speaking to said if I knew any other British people could I tell them that the Consulate have a telephone based at the Cliff Bay Hotel (962 180 706) if anyone wants to contact them for any information or assistance.

    Deepest sympathies to all the people affected by this terrible tragedy.

  31. After seeing Martin’s comment re the English Church, I have been asked by one of the Church Wardens to post this message:

    We are all shocked and horrified by what has happened to our island and its people.
    There is a way in which we can help at this moment. There will be far more we can do as time and events develop.
    To assist communication we would like you to have the following information, so that if you meet anyone who is here in Madeira and needs any assistance this is the contact:

    An Emergency Room has been set up in the Cliff Bay Hotel
    The telephone number is 962180706
    If this phone is not available the contact to the embassy in Portugal is: 213924000
    The Consulate will be closed as everyone will be working from the Emergency Room

    Your help in sharing this information would be very much appreciated by our Hon. Consul Joy Menezes.

    If anyone needs to contact someone from the church then they can do so through the church website. Google English Church Madeira

  32. Hi Der

    Sent you an email but no reply so Mo said you had written on your blog. Really pleased that you are okay, pictures are awful to see what has happened. Look after yourself and hopefully speak soon.

    Love Trace x

  33. Thank you so much for these pictures. I am writing from the Boston area. My husband’s family is from Sitio da Ribeira concelho da Tabua. Only a couple of kilometes from Ribeira Brava. We haven’t heard anything from them yet. They are still without power and cell phones. We know that the bridge in Tabua is out which mean their village is isolated. We vacation in Ribeira Brava often. It’s incredible to see the devastation. We really appreciate you posting your images. It allows people like myself who love the country to see the damage. This is the best information I have seen so far on Ribeira Brava. We are praying for you and all Madeirenses. Thank you!

  34. Thanks to everyone for the info. I hope the disaster fund is widely publicised.

    Just a couple of bits I’ve just learned; the Nuns Valley is not quite cut off i.e. there is just room for one vehicle to squeeze thru if absolutely necessary.

    The road up to Sao Vicente is closed, covered in mud & rocks where it goes/went past the Poncha Bar. I haven’t heard of any serious problems at Sao Vicente itself, except that they would have to go a very long way round to get to Funchal i.e. west to Porto Moniz or east to Santana,.

  35. hi, we have family in Camara de lobos, and we have been unable to contact them, we realise that they are not in a ‘susceptable’ area but we would like to check that all is well. please can anyone tell us how things are there and any pics would do a gr8 deal to quell the fears. thanks. our heartfelt and sincere wishes go to all those affected by this awful disaster. and our prayers go out to all the people who have lost their lives and the families and friends they have left behind. my husband often says the real beauty of madeira is the people and i have to agree, lets hope the clean up is speedy and that the people shine at this darkest of times. love to everyone.

  36. We have just learnt that the road down from Tabua, Corujeira, Apresentacao, and Furna etc into Ribeira Brava is closed off again so we are cut off from anywhere else once more. We are still without water but there are hopes that it might be restored tomorrow.

    Hi Dave, I saw yesterday afternoon from the top of the mountain that Modelo is still standing but there is a lot of mud and other debris at the stadium as with practically everywhere else but it is also still standing at present.

  37. Hi All just got back online In caniço , No blog today as i guess Der is off line as well.

    Had no TV or Internet till now so just catching up with News.

    I heard there is a problem in Ponta do sol??? on the radio can anyone confirm.

  38. Tobi, this is from Diario:

    Ponta do Sol evacuated for safety
    Heavy rain in the Paul da Serra increased flow of the river and the possibility of landslides
    Date: 22/02/2010

    The mayor of Ponta do Sol ordered evacuation of the lower area of the town as a matter of safety rather than actual risk.

    Some information made them aware of the possibility of collapse in some mountainous areas of the county. A helicopter is making the assessment of the state of rivers due to heavy rain in the Paul da Serra.

    “Since it rains up there, the river grows, there is danger of flash floods due to collapse of unstable areas,” said a resident of Ponta do Sol

    Police are warning people not to move to higher ground and not walk over bridges, said Elio Garden.

    According to an official of the inn Ponta do Sol, the “water of the river continues to rise because it is raining and as a matter of precaution it was decided to move people,” which in all will be “a thousand”.

    People were evacuated as a precautionary measure so that if there were landslides and the waters burst its banks of the river, they were not caught unawares.

    However in the neighboring municipality of Ribeira Brava the situation returned to normal with the residents to return to the town by the former regional road. Apart from the population of the site of Murteira which was evacuated to the school’s bell.

  39. We were in Funchal a few weeks ago, off thw cruise ship Island Escape. A lovely island, best of luck hope it can recover quickly from this dreadful tragedy.

  40. I see from the webcams, now back up and running, that the clear-up along Avenida do Mar is still happening by floodlight. Impressive efforts to get back to normal as soon as possible.

  41. Anyone know anything about whether the Calheta Beach hotel is affected and/or accessable? Are the roads useable between r.b. and calheta?

  42. C. Beach hotel is fine. I understand the roundabout at Tabua is totally washed out only the back roads can be used to avoid that. In Madelaine do Mar the raod along the sea is apparently passable.

    May still have to use the tunnel to come at the Beach hotel from the West by going through town of Calheta although they seem to be finished clearing the road in from the East.

  43. For anyone who has booked or is thinking of booking a holiday in Madeira – PLEASE come! Everybody is working so hard to get the island up and running again and it is so important that we continue to have the valued support of our visitors.

    What has happened has been horrific and tragic, but it is exceptional. Tourism is a huge part of the lifeblood of this island and as you’ll have seen from the comments above, all of those who have visited have loved it. You will too!

  44. Hallo liefe mensen heel veel sterkte met al het leed,wij komen al dertig jaar 2 maal per jaar naar het mooie eiland ,het is verschrikkelijk om dit allemaal te zien,in april gaan we weer,we laten Madeira niet in de steek we houden van het eiland.dagelijks bekijk ik hoe het nu verder gaat om het eiland weer mooi te krijgen en ze zijn echt al druk bezig zelfs in de nacht mensen zet hem op.
    liefs Herma uit HOLLANDA.

  45. What’s it looking like west of Calhetta. I know a lot of people in Paul do Mar, Jardim do Mar and Faja da Ovelha and there havn’t been any reports on these.

  46. Hi, thanks for all the info. I feel so
    sorry for all those affected. Madeira is a wonderful place with wonderful people. Do you have any info regarding the canhas area? How are the roads from Funchal to canhas? Your help would be much appreciated.

  47. Hi, also up and running again internet not good today. We ventured out to shop (only up the road) guess what no bank card machines working, only wanted cash, everyone was rushing to banks and their computers were down so would not give you money. Ended up in Canico and found the BES there working so went back with cash to do the shopping. The tunnel from the roundabout at Canichal in the direction of Camache was closed. Compared with other areas we are only suffering from logistic problems. Received a Newsletter from Madeira Tourism:

    Official Report from Regional Government of Madeira – 22/02/2010, at 06.30 p.m.

    Dead people



    •The same situation informed in the last report: from the total of 70 people wounded, only 18 are still in the Hospital.

    Missing People


    Dislodgments: the situation maintains:

    370 people are being looked after:

    250 people in Funchal

    120 people in Ribeira Brava

    Water Supply

    •The situation maintains the same as reported before, in highlands Funchal (Santo António) and Ponta do Sol.


    •Curral das Freiras is already covered with electricity in 100%.
    •The situation occurred in Serra D´Agua is being normalized.


    •The Schools in Funchal, Câmara de Lobos and Ribeira Brava will be closed tomorrow (23/02/2010).

    Public Services

    •The Public Services will be operating tomorrow (23/02/2010) as today, with minimum services.
    •Urgencies in having a passport will be guaranteed at Loja do Cidadão. Please contact these phone numbers: +351 291 21 22 00 or +351 291 21 22 16.


    •Madeira is still receiving messages of support and solidarity from all over the world including His Holiness the Pope.


    •Mobile phone connections and fixed communications network are operational in Santana. In São Vicente and Porto Moniz are expected to be operating late this evening.

    Tourists Situation:

    •The hotels are operating normaly.
    •The calendar of events will be maintained and we are already preparing the Flower Festival that will occur from 15th until 18th of April. So please do come to Madeira, enjoy your stay and celebrate with us.


    •Do consider only the information given by the Regional Governement
    •We have registered a lot of different rumours regarding the weather forecast which only contributes to create panic in the local population. Therefore you should visit Tourism website for updating the information
    •Regional Government informs that there will be winds until 9 p.m. on the mountains. Do be calm.
    •Oficial informations can be followed:



    Hope this helps some people – night night everyone – sleep tight and don’t let the beg bugs bite!

    New update will be made in 23rd of February at 12.00 p.m.

  48. Headline from today’s Diario:

    The lack of official information to clarify each scenario as it emerged yesterday brought a wave of rumors that disrupted the search operations and aggravated the morale of the population, in addition to causing panic.

    This happened in Ribiera Brava, where an evacuation order for one place inappropriately spread to the entire village. In Funchal there is speculation about the situation in car parks. There are 48 confirmed dead.

  49. Roughly from the Diario

    Teams that arrived on the frigate Corte-Real are already working in Funchal and Ribeira Brava
    230 men, 183 elements of the garrison (equipment???) reinforced by 40 Marines and seven divers are already on the ground
    Date: 22/02/2010

    The commander of the Portuguese Navy frigate Corte-Real, Gill Alexander, today confirmed to the agency Lusa that teams that are today on Madeira are already working in search and rescue operations in the districts of Ribeira Brava, Funchal.

    “They are teams of Marines landed in the area of Ribeira Brava to identify and realization of search along the land and elements of the garrison of the ship are on land” he said.

    Alexandre Gonçalves said that “the command post on land is installed and now will work closely with the maritime authority of Funchal, and there will be distribution of tasks to be accomplished” for search and rescue in the worst affected areas. ”

    The official noted that “areas of operations are the Ribeira Brava, Funchal, where there are shopping areas, wetlands and coastal zones seriously affected.”

    He said they are also involved in the commercial centers of Funchal, noting: “we do not know that there will be.”

    The frigate has arrived in port with 230 men, 183 elements of the garrison reinforced by 40 Marines and seven divers, “which enables it to act in the entire spectrum of military relief operations ashore.

    “Our mission is to strengthen the capacity of maritime search and rescue in Funchal”, he said.

    The elements and means to come to Madeira allow the frigate “to take action on health care and first aid, capable of mobility, in time to rescue a team of special operations detachment of Marines from improvised passages to overcome natural obstacles “he pointed out.

    He brought 12 boats to allow the marines to patrol the wet areas and remove people from areas which are flooded and inaccessible, and divers who are “have the competence of the level of maritime search and rescue using diving and to carry out underwater work.”

    Gill Alexander added that there is also a helicopter to search the surface for identification and eventual evacuation of isolated populations or in areas with difficult access by other means, and for logistics and transportation to and from land.

  50. And a later article:

    However in the neighboring municipality of Ribeira Brava the situation returned to normal with the residents to return to the town by the former regional road. Apart from the population of the site of Murteira which was evacuated to the School of Campanário.

  51. And another one:

    Location calmer in Ribeira Brava
    LREC technicians have observed crack
    Date: 22/02/2010

    The worst seems to have passed in Ribeira Brava. After moments of panic, the population is beginning to return home, the danger which caused much concern during the morning has passed.

    According to the Diario, the mayor says alarm is not justified. Still, the most dramatic situation – and that still deserves serious treatment – is in Murteira. There remains some uncertainty in that area which means that the residents have been advised to leave the site and go to the school in Campanario.

    However, representatives from the Regional Laboratory of Civil Engineering visited the area Pomar da Rocha, a place that spawned the whole mess in the morning and where it was thought there would be a large detachment of land. According to information obtained in the early afternoon, this place is really a crack but the technicians do not consider that there is much reason for alarm such as that generated during the morning. However, the transition takes place with some difficulty, but there are signs of return to normal as much as possible.

    Even the Health Center, which was also evacuated, reopens tomorrow.

  52. From the Diario:
    Unsafe water in Faial and São Roque do Faial
    Board of Santana calls for no consumption
    Date: 22/02/2010

    The Board of Santana warns the population of the parish of Faial and São Roque do Faial not to consume water.

    Following the storms in the region, there are flaws in the supply of drinking water in the villages. The links were restored, but the water is unfit for consumption. The sites covered by this alert are: Faja Grande, Faja da Murta, Limoeiro Cruzinhas, Loin de Cima, Fillet of Bass, Penha eagle, mills and Longueira (Faial and Cedro Gordo Fajã (São Roque Faial).

  53. Date: 22/02/2010
    Schools Funchal, Ribeira Brava, Câmara de Lobos are remaining closed Tuesday
    Establishments closed until the standards of public transport and clearing roadways are met

    Schools of Funchal, Ribeira Brava, Câmara de Lobos will remain closed on Tuesday.

    In a statement, the Secretary for Education, justifies this decision with the aim of “ensuring the implementation of safety and efficacy of maintenance and clearance of public roads and, as well as return to normal of public transport and schools.”

    Francisco Fernandes also states that this closure does not prevent “directions of plants(???) are present and call upon the necessary personnel for cleaning, since there is not the security and accessibility for people in the establishment .”

    The document adds that in establishments in other counties are maintaining normal activity, except in cases where, after submission and filings made by local boards of directors, it is concluded that there is a need for closure, for reasons of safety, accessibility or other ” .

  54. From the Instituto de Meteorolgia:
    Last updated: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 01:26 UTC

    Orange alert:
    From Tuesday, February 23, 2010 02:00 UTC to Tuesday, February 23, 2010 21:59 UTC

    Wind: In mountainous areas, high wind (up to 70 km / h) and very strong gusts of around 100 km / h.
    Maritime: Significant Wave Height: Waves from the northwest to 4 meters.

  55. We arrived from Finland to Funchal on friday night and found ourselves in the middle of a disaster. Still the speed of recovery has been amazing and almost every services up and running almost all the time. So I would say that it’s ok to travel here, I know we are coming back very soon!

    Does anyone know about the condition of the roads from funchal? How far will we get east or westbound from funchal? Is it impossible to get to sao vicente or porto moniz?

    Thank you for your answers!


  56. The Times reports today that in Funchal divers are to put into an underground carpark to search for any victims.
    The number of people missing might not be quite accurate yet, by a small amount.

  57. Hello Everyone, pictures are now up on my the madeiratimes website of the scenes in Funchal and some of canico that may be of interest to us bods still stuck the otherside of Ribeira Brava!
    Still no water here in Ponta do Sol
    Sun is shining, but after seeing Ellens report, for how long?

  58. Jodi, as far as we know those areas west of Calheta are mostly unscathed.

    JT, there is no access to the west or north of the island via Ribeira Brava as both the road through Serra da Agua to Sao Vincente and the road from R.Brava past Tabua are completely blocked.

    Still no water in R.Brava either.

  59. @ Jody K
    The area West of calheta is fine, but phone networks have been restored later then other areas. We have house in Faja da Ovelha, it survived everyting unscathed like most houses in the area. The only problem was that there was no access to the area from Funchal, but that has been restored this morning

  60. @jt, the north and east of the island is fine with very little damage, and this is where most island tours are going at the moment.

    Thank you Ellen for keeping us updated.

  61. Thanks to Elaine & Tobi for the info.

    Guess we’ll try to rent a car tomorrow and drive east as our initial plan was to explore the island. The west side will unveil it’s secrets to us on an other trip.


  62. I feel very sorry for the residents in Madeira. Our family loves the island and have been there 15 times so far. We have made lots of friends down there. Hope people who have lost their loved ones will find strength to live on. I am thinking of them. We will visit the island again for sure.

  63. @jt
    the west of the island is also ok starting from Lugar de Baixo. All roads are open to the West again so please come, spend money and enjoy yourself. The show must go on for the madeirense people. they need your cash.

  64. If anyone has got information on porto santo line ferry it would be appreciated. I heard it was cancelled on monday and tuesday but I wonder when it returns to normal schedule. Their own webpage has been down for at least two days..


  65. Is there any news from Paul do Mar? We cannot find anything on the internet, but we think maybe Paul cannot be reached, because of the floods. We do worry this beautiful village may also be sincerely damaged. Any news and/or links are welcome.
    With love from Holland.

  66. My family in Funchal are all ok, they are of course very shook-en-up….Seeing there beautiful city under the mud and rubble, not to mention the profound loss of life………very very tragic, but we are not better than the those that these things happen to and life is what it is, I my self am in morning for my Madeira and it’s people,
    but I have faith that not long from now our city will be restored to its beautiful luster.
    Life of course will never be the same again but Madeira people are resilient and they as well as us that live abroad will over come the tragedy that is happening.
    Gods Speed to Madeira

  67. Have a holiday booked for end March. STILL looking forward to coming – judging by the attitude of the people and authorities, I’m sure all will be well by the time I get there. I will try to boost the economy while I’m with you!

    My condolences to all who have been bereaved and those whose houses and property have been destroyed. We have had so many floods in the North of England recently, I can empathise a little. The English woman who died lived not many miles from me – such a sad loss.

    My best wishes to you all.

  68. Hi Der

    Just to let you know that we managed to get to the airport and back safely from Arco a Calheta today Tuesday.

    There is a lot of debris at the mouth of the river at Madalena blocking the promenade. Diggers working hard to clear.

    Lugar de Baixo was muddy and single file traffic with police supervision, but otherwise clear.

    Tabua passable but what a mess. Huge boulders, mud and men at work. Just hope that the brige at the seafront holds or we will be cut off big time.

    Ribeira Brava – some diversions with Police Supervision, but no problems and the via Rápida was clear.

    However more rain is forecast, especially on Friday and Saturday, so we can only hope and pray that more devastation will not follow.

    Other info

    The Covo do Arco road has been blocked by a landslide for 4 days – machines working to clear it.

    I spoke with a friend who works in Cancela. His neighbour’s wife went to Funchal with her 5 year old son on Saturday to do some shopping and their car was swept away in the flood. They tried to get out, but the child died and his mother is in hospital.

    My friend had to collect his daughter from Ribeira Brava and assisted in recovering 10 bodies.

    Two sisters who lived in Pinheiro, the village on the levada between Arco and Canhas, died when their house was swept away. Their funeral is tomorrow in Arco at 3 p.m.

    Someone has sent me numerous photos which I cannot attach to this e mail. Please send me your e mail address and I will forward them to you.

    I guess we won’t be going to school for a while! I don’t intend to go anywhere I don’t have to having had 2 close encounters with rockfalls of late!

    Keep well and safe


  69. Susan Thanks for that info.My brother has to get to the airport from Arco da Calheta on Saturday and we have to get from the airport to Arco. Can you clarify which bridge you are talking about in your comment regarding Tabua is it just before the last tunnel to Ribeira Brava? Near where you can just go along the old road to the petrol station.

  70. The clean up is really happening fast , a friend has told me that along by Cafe Teatro, and Golden Gate the streets are spotless and you would never know anything had happened, also i hear alot of other places have opened and lots of the smaller streets are returning to normal. You have to admire the speed of this clean up, and the people that are working round the clock to make it happen.

  71. Thoughts are with you all in Madeira throughout.
    Tobi’s post preceding this just exemplifies why we in the UK love and admire your wonderful Island and the people who live there so much

  72. Don’t have a mobile phone for Der but Bobby arrives back from Belgium Saturday and he lives in the same block so might have a better update at that time, if I manage to get him home!!

  73. Quinta Splendida has had 70 Cancellations, very sad as there really is no need for this , hate to think how the hotels in Funchal are coping with bookings. There are only a few places not accessable at the moment but this will be sorted in about 2 weeks or less, then the island will be back tt its lovely self.

  74. The thing is that people ARE still arriving here for there holidays but are being advised to stay in their hotels at present for safety reasons! In this case it is not just the safety of the visitor but also that of the rescuers that needs to be adrressed…

  75. Hello Everyone

    Does anyone have any photographs of the clean up process that I can post to The Madeira Times Website?

    I saw some today which were fantastic but couldn’t get hold of the author and it would be nice to be able to promote the positive side of this catastrophy and show people that when faced with a disaster, people pull together and when they do that wonderful things are acheived!

  76. From the Diario:
    Date: 23/02/2010

    From Wednesday onwards schools resume classes.

    Schools in Ponta do Sol, Calheta, Santana, São Vicente, São Vicente, Machico and Porto Santo “resumed all activities of education and training”, said the Education Secretary in a statement.

    In Ribeira Brava all schools of the county remain closed. In Santa Cruz schools remain closed and the School of Camacha 1st Cycle Clemente Tavares, in Gaul, “until the standard water supply is established.”

    In Câmara de Lobos all schools return to normal operation, with the exception of schools at Nun’s Valley.

    In Funchal the following reopen: the Vocational Training Center, the Conservatory – School of the Arts, only in respect of professional courses, the Professional School of Hospitality and Tourism Madeira, Quinta do Leme, the Basic Schools in the 1st cycle of Areeiro, from Martin, of Nazareth and educational establishments Carousel, Sunflower, John of God, Spring, Planet of Children and Corner Reguila.

    The document further states that all schools in Madeira “passed unscathed the recent storm,” required only cleaning.

    The same happened to sports and cultural infrastructure under the supervision of the Regional Secretariat of Education, with the exception of the pavilion of Santa Cruz where the ground floor has to be repaired.

    UMa resume classes on Monday

    Classes are resuming Monday on the university campus Penteada. The decision was taken by the Rector of the University of Madeira (UMa), which calls on students not to move themselves to the premises until that date.

    The rectory justice’s made a statement regarding ongoing work on cleaning the surrounding area, and repair the electrical system.

    All services at the premises of UMa Penteada Jesuit College resume normally Thursday.

    On Wednesday, only the minimum services are available at the Directorate of Infrastructure and Services and the Academy and Administration and Finance.

    The Social Services will work partially thursday and Friday in Penteada.

    The Student, in Rua de Santa Maria, is working “normally”.

  77. From the Diario:
    Police want to leave the mainland and return to Madeira to help
    Ministry of Interior is studying a proposal from the National Union of Police
    Date: 23/02/2010

    There are Madeiran police who are trying to leave the mainland to go to the island to help colleagues in policing, the recovery of bodies from the rubble and debris removal, said the president of the National Union of Police.

    Armando Ferreira estimated there are between 30 and 40 islanders who are working in Lisbon and ensures that many are willing to travel to the island to do whatever work “it takes.”

    The idea came when a policeman stationed in Queluz knew that his brother had been one of the casualties of the heavy rains that hit Madeira Saturday. The policeman asked the union if he could not return home. He wanted to become useful, to help ” in their land” and “relieve” the colleagues who are working long hours.

    The suggestion prompted the National Union of Police (SINAPOL) to submitted a proposal on Friday to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MAI) and the national director of the PSP in order to send a new team to assist in policing.

    Armando Ferreira says that this group of Madeirans would be an option that would be “very nice for the government accounts, as there is a cost in relation to housing.” (because they would live with relatives ?????)

    “The MAI says it will study the proposal and it seemed a good idea,” said Armando Ferreira, also underlining the fact that these agents know the area well.

    This option would also be a way to “relieve some” colleagues who are on site, he added. The officers who are in Madeira are “voluntarily” working overtime to help the people, but the union points out that they “will not be able to maintain this pace for much longer.”

    A delegation from the SINAPOL leaves this morning for Madeira to survey the needs of agents, but also to study on the state of the facilities after the heavy rains on Saturday that destroyed the island.

    According to Armando Ferreira, “there is enough destruction of police stations, but it is only on Wednesday that the union delegation will be able to get a real picture of the situation. .

  78. from the Diario:
    Date: 23/02/2010

    Economy Minister announces funding of 50 million for the recovery of the business of Madeira
    Vieira da Silva ensures that systems are operated to ensure the wages “of those people who can not work due to the destruction of their businesses”

    The Minister of Economy, Vieira da Silva in Funchal today announced funding for the recovery of the business of Madeira in the order of 50 million.

    The minister made the announcement after visiting some areas affected by the storms of Saturday and meeting with the vice president of the regional government, Joao Cunha e Silva and several businessmen.

    This value was based “on a survey of the damage not yet closed,” said the minister.

    Vieira da Silva said that the social protection systems are operated to ensure the wages “of those people who can not work due to the destruction of their companies. “Our primary concern is the speed of response,” he said, noting the “impressive effort” being made to clean up affected areas and restore “the operating condition that the island had before” the storm.

    The minister also called on employers to be very quick to use the funds that will be available.

    For its part, the vice president of Government stressed the willingness of the Minister to support Madeira after the tragedy.

    “I am pleased with the goodwill of the minister going to Madeira because the regional government was powerless with the means available to it,” said the regional manager.

    Joao Cunha e Silva announced that it will soon be given news for businesses in the region for “the business community to revive the city, stressing the importance of it being a tourist area.

  79. From the Diario:

    LAEC cancels shows
    Office does not perform scheduled events of the season until March 7
    Date: 23/02/2010

    The Office Coordinator Arts Education canceled all scheduled shows until March 7

    On the 26th a concert will not be held in honor of the Images of the Pilgrims. The same happens on the 28th day with performances of the String Orchestra and Guitar Ensemble in the Parochial Hall of Seixal and Church of Machico, respectively.

    Also, the Ensemble Vocal Regina Praxis and Kaleidoscope will not act on the 6th and 7th of March The first formation was the appointed concert in Machico, the second in the Parochial Hall of Lameiros.

  80. From the Diario

    The Social Center of the Madeira is being requested by migrants from different countries to locate family members who have been affected by the bad weather that hit Saturday on Madeira.

    The regional secretary of the Human Brazão de Castro, which protects the migrants in the archipelago, told Lusa that the center had 32 requests for locating families.

    “We had 32 requests so far to locate families by fellow communities in Jersey (United Kingdom), South Africa, France and Venezuela,” he confirmed.

    According Brazão de Castro, since Saturday’s disaster, the social center of Madeira has maintained direct contacts with the consulates of the host countries, disseminating information on the developments.

    Of the 32 tracing requests from families, the governor of Madeira said that “there is now only one case pending in the center, as it was not yet possible to find the people requested.

    The tragedy that struck in some municipalities in Madeira led to cutting off telephone services in some areas, a situation that made it difficult to contact migrants with their families.

    “Today those links are established, but we continue to receive requests to locate people who can not access direct contact with their families,” he said.

    The minister also noted that “the social center of Madeira will keep this additional support for whenever someone needs to contact their family and is not able to.”

  81. From the Diario

    Canceled Theater Festival Regional School Carlos Varela
    New date will be announced soon
    Date: 23/02/2010

    Scheduled to take place between 1 to 5 March but has been canceled: this edition of the Regional Theater School Carlos Varela.

    The cause of the cancellation was “a tragedy that struck our island,” it was said in their statement. The organization adds that “a new date will be announced in due course.”
    Contribute a better translation




    CONTACTOS: ph# 291222275, [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]


  83. From the Diario:

    Furniture and appliances are needed
    Cáritas is open for receiving all kinds of furniture in the warehouse at da Avenida dos Estados Unidos da América
    Date: 23/02/2010

    From Wednesday Cáritas is open for receiving between 15 and 18 hours all types of furniture in the warehouse located on da Avenida dos Estados Unidos da América, near the Mata da Nazaré.

    Some evacuees are being sent to homes that need furniture and other household items.

    The list of necessary items from Cáritas: furniture living room, bedrooms, dining room, kitchen furniture, kitchen sets, plates, cutlery, glasses, cups, plates, kitchen towels, dish cloths and small appliances such as microwaves, kettles and toasters.

  84. A BIG THUMBS UP TO MODELO IN RIBEIRA BRAVA! The store is currently closed to the public due to the horrendous conditions but after a visit from a local forest ranger they have donated all of the food contents from the store to be distributed to all areas in the Concelho of Ribeira Brava that are cut off & in need of supplies.
    Makeshift foot bridges are being erected for this purpose & a team of 12 army personnel started the distributions yesterday afternoon to the Ribeira da Tabua area.

  85. If anyody in or around Ribeira Brava has any clothing or other supplies that they can contribute would they please take them to the Bombeiro’s Headquarters in R.Bava for distribution.

  86. We have been advised that the lack of water in Ribeira Brava & Ponta do Sol is due to badly damaged supply pipes. It is currently to dangerous for these pipes to be repaired or replaced so the area is expected to be without water for up to a another week or possibly longer. There are fire engines etc driving around to supply water which is suitable for flushing toilets but not for drinking.

    Karen it is the next bridge down from the tunnel in R.Brava that has collapsed.

  87. Sorry Der is incommunicado.
    Water shortage –no problem,
    Don’t wash drink beer or poncha.

    The placing of the river rubble onto the beach at Funchal is obviously a quick solution to “where to put it?”.
    Might be missing an opportunity to extend the depth of the promenade Avenue de Mer by the use of “free” material.

  88. Hymn of the Autonomous Region of Madeira
    Saw this as a comment in the Jornal da Madeira (I think) thought it very appropriate:

    From the valley to the mountain and from the sea to the highlands
    Thy humble people, stoic and brave
    Amidst the hard stone plowed thine land,
    To cast, of the bread, the seed:
    Hero of the labour of the harsh mountain,
    Cast to the sea in tormenteous waves:
    The laurels of victory, in thy calous hands,
    Were the heritage bestowed to thine children.
    In this World beyond
    Madeira thy name continues
    In thy longing children
    That in distant lands
    Show themselves proud of thee.
    In this World beyond,
    Madeira, we shall honour thy History
    In the path of labour
    We shall struggle
    And achieve
    Thine well-being and glory.

  89. I would also like to thank you all for your updates and add my thoughts and best wishes to the maderian people throughout the tragic events recently. Looking at the photo’s of the devestation to such a beautiful island and the trauma that it has caused is profoundly upsetting, but the optimism and resolve of the opinions expressed in this blog and in reports is a testimant to the you all.

    My wife and I are due to fly out this Tuesday to Canhas. We really want to continue with our trip, but as my wife is 6 moths pregnant we are a little nervous should there be any complications and therefore have a couple of questions regarding the situation.

    The reports of lack of water in Ponta do Sol and Ribera Brava are one of the main concerns, as are the transport links should there be any complication in my wifes pregnancy. We are also aware that the large number of casualties will be placing great strain on the helath service out there and would not like to think if something went wrong that we are aggrivating already stretched resources.

    We usually stick to the south of the island and are unfamiliar with the routes to the North so could someone please advises us if the southern roads are passable or, if they are not, what is the best way from the airport to Canhas?

    I know this is a difficult and obscure question to ask but how “safe” is it for a pregnant lady facility wise at present. I am fully aware that we are in a fortunate enough posityion to have the option of travelling or not and appreiate that there are people in the island in a similar predicament to ourselves that have no alternatives, so I would appreciate your opinions and advice.

    Best wishes and luck to you all.

  90. My wife & I have planned a weeks walking holiday near to Curral das Freiras in a few weeks time. Can anyone advise if the roads to there are now open and passable. What about Madeira’s Bus services, does anyone know if they have started to run again to this area ?

  91. I have been living in Madeira (calheta) for nearly 3 years and would not live anywhere else. The medical care is fantastic, but the situation just now is very exceptional, there is more rain forecast, and with so many people in dire straights I personally would not advise you to come with a 6 month pregnant wife. Communications on roads and electronically remain very uncertain. I was due to fly home on Monday and could not get to the airport, I am due to fly out of funchal next Monday and can only hope I can get to the airport. Why not re-book later in the year – and My husband and I will be happy to collect you from your accommodation, and give you a good day out. The weather should start to improve soon and a friend of mine in Funchal thinks the worst will be under control within a month. The madeirans are so brave and stoical and hardworking, but the situation is still very uncertain.

    We look forward to seeing you and your wife and baby later in the year.


  92. We have just come back from driving from Arco da Calheta/Calheta Beach Hotel, doing business in Ribeira Brava and then doing business in Funchal around the Forum (Lido), Madeira Shopping and AKI.

    Everywhere was fine to drive. There was a bit of a slowdown at the Tabua roundabout but not even a full stop.

    The only errand that we had planned that was not possible was the Modelo in Ribeira Brava. However, all other grocery stores were open and well stocked.

    It is amazing how quickly the clean-up is happening, especially where the main problem was mud. Along the main roads, outside of small piles of mud and debris piled every so often you would not know what had happened – except where there are big rock piles – but those all also at the sides of roads.

  93. Many thanks Ellen for keeping the updates flowing. As usual the UK media loses interest after about 48 hours so we’ve been worrying how people were getting on. Went to the bank to try and put some ££s into the Madeira disaster fund but they said to hold on till a UK based one is set up (as they did for Haiti) – saves your donations getting munched up in bank charges. How are people coping in Ribiera Brava so long without water supply?

  94. Avril

    Thank you very much for your honest response. We have been out to Calheta before and I do agree that in usual circumstances Maderia is a wonderful place. I can assure you that we will be back later on in the year (or perhaps early next) and would like to thank you for your kind offer!

    Best of luck and warmest regards.

  95. @ Richard, i have had an email back from Madeira explorers, and it seems many walks are to dangerous at the moment, not just from the tragic events from Saturday , but from bad weather in general over the last 2 months which has affected many of the walking routes on the island. Here is the email i received…..

    Unfortunately most of the roads where affected by the bad weather and the access to many walks is impossible; I do believe that in two weeks time roads will be completely repaired and we will be able to run the walks from our daily programme; At the moment our team is working hard to find alternative walks for our daily programme for the next days; At the moment I can confirm that three walks are going to take place; Mimosa Valley walk; Quinta Grande Cabo Girão walk and Baía D Ábra São Lourenço.

  96. Now that we have seen the images of the destruction in Funchal, it would be good to see some positive images of the clean-up operations to encourage tourists to keep coming to Madeira to support the economy and the people.

  97. Had to travel between Calheta and the airport this morning to pick my son up. Would echo other comments. A lot of mess in and around Ribera Brava and Lugar de Baixo, with clean up operations in action, but the roads are perfectly passable at the moment. The journey (driving very carefully/steadily) took 1 hour 15 mins. Once past Ribera, the Rapide is fine. Be aware that some of the roads into Funchal are closed. This means that the ones that are open are heavy with traffic at times and can result in small, temporary tail backs onto the rapide. Everyone take care.

  98. Gregor,

    I think you have made a very wise decision, its raining hard again with more forecast over the next two days. The news flash this evening showed the President of Portugal in Tabua which was very badly hit, and the clean up is going well, but it needs to in case of more slippage and mud to compound the problems. Because the air temperature is 19c, and the rain coming in from the Atlantic is cold, deep dark fogs are also in evidence, so driving here is dangerous to say the least, anywhere. The fogs can come down quickly.

    I hope all goes well with the new arrival and we look forward to making our offer good later this year or early next.

    Warmest regards and good wishes.


  99. We are due out to madiera on holiday in march and have decided to definately come. We live near Cockernouythin the U.k. so know what to expect and what a flash flood can do. Looking forward to our visit now after reading this blog. Everyone so positive and up for the clear up. God bless you all and your island.

  100. We drove from funchal to sao vicente and back today. Route funchal-santa cruz-machico-porto da cruz-santana-ponta delgada-sao vicente. Going there took about 3 hours as there were a lot of traffic jams. Roads were passable but of course i can’t tell if they were normal as i haven’t been in Madeira before.


  101. Karen

    Apologies for the delay in replying. Yes I meant the road at the bottom of Tabua between the tunnel and the roundabout near the petrol station and Ribeira Brava tunnel.

    As far as I know all is well at the moment and you can get through to Funchal with no problems. I understand the clear up operations everywhere are nothing short of miraculous.

    With thanks to everyone concerned in the recovery of this beautiful island.


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