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Monchique, with a Future

Things are taking more time. Those who didn’t have any fire insurance last year, when the fire reduced the forest and 71 dwellings to ashes, now have to have the patience of a saint. There are those in Monchique who are really seeing themselves tested. There have been only three houses in the meantime that have had approval from the insurance to be rebuilt. The rest depend on the IHRU Government program. Will it be carried out? Most of the victims feel doubly beaten down and discriminated against by the bureaucracy of the whole process. Victims have to fill out numerous forms and wait for a government expert to review their requirements before deciding. Then they still have to wait for the order that will or will not approve the aid. Many of the claims are in the form of credit that is not actually accessible because of the lack of economic resources. As this edition goes to press, there have been no houses covered by the IHRU criteria that have started to be rebuilt. This means that some of the people affected have been living in tents for a year or in the burned-out ruin on their land, and others have been renting a house or have gone abroad to find work with a decent wage.

A simple solution would be a state fund that compensates all the victims, without exception, for damage to their land and without a huge amount of bureaucracy. Again and again the question of the cause of the fire is raised. Good insurance would have been an alternative. Insurance that, in addition to reconstruction, would also pay for the necessary demolitions, the removal of hazardous materials such as asbestos and the removal of burnt-out vehicles and trees. In talks with the Portuguese Association of Insurers, ECO123 learned that the fire devastated 27,000 hectares of forest and other crops but has only cost insurers a little over 3 million euros. A sum that is a bargain when compared to the actual value of the claim.

The word crowdfunding is printed on a paper, Germany, city of Osterode, 15. December 2015. Photo: Frank May | usage worldwide

For this reason, the association representing the injured parties, Monchique Alert – the Mountains Free From Fire, will launch a national crowdfunding campaign in October and November through the web platform www.ppl.com.pt. The campaign is especially intended to support five more pressing cases by streamlining and enabling self-help. It is about rebuilding a burned-out house, securing autonomous future water supplies with cisterns (also to protect against future fires), sustainable reforestation and maintaining a five-hectare mixed forest and a few more small one-off measures. Read more details about this online campaign at www.eco123.info, where we will also be updating the information on this subject.

The first crowdfunding company of its kind in Portugal starts on October 1st and will last for 60 days, ending on November 30th. According to the association’s director, it’s intended to be a positive action, marking a new start.

Donations from 10 euros are accepted, but you can choose from 25, 50, 100, 250 and even 500 euros, with the prospect of raising a substantial amount that will allow those who are being completely forgotten by our rulers to take a first step towards returning to normality. The intention is to bring together and strengthen forces in solidarity through the Internet and social media. The publisher ECO123 Publishing and Film Production Lda., founder of this magazine, is participating in this reconstruction project with several offers in return for donations.

Our offers are, amongst others:

  • For a donation of ten euros to the “Monchique, with a Future” crowdfunding, ECO123 will thank you by offering an online subscription for one-year.
  • A donation of 50 euros to the “Monchique, with a Future” crowdfunding entitles you to two walks (or a walk for two people) on the theme “The Secret Life of Trees” with a visit to Padieiros oil mill and a tasting of olive oils.
  • For a donation of 100 euros to the fund, the Monchique Alert Association offers a walking weekend with one night’s accommodation and a walk to one of the summits of the Monchique mountain range.

For more information please visit this company’s website www.ppl.com.pt/monchique-com-futuro

Mantenha-se ao corrente desta iniciativa.

Uwe Heitkamp

traduções: Fernando Medronho & Penny e Tim Coombs | fotografias: Uwe Heitkamp & dpa

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