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Monchique Council intervenes in areas with high fire risk


Monchique, Faro, 28 Apr 2022 (Lusa) – The City Council of Monchique is carrying out interventions in areas with high fire risk to increase resilience in the event of forest fires and provide greater security to populations, works financed by the Condomínio de Aldeia program.

After the area was hit, in 2018, by the biggest forest fire in Europe that year, the priority is now the defence of the population centers located in the forest area of ​​Monchique, the Algarve area most affected by forest fires in the last decades.

According to the mayor, Paulo Alves, explained to Lusa, the interventions, which focus on areas of high fire danger, aim to reconvert areas of bush, eucalyptus and pine through the planting of indigenous species, such as the strawberry tree, cork oak or citrus.

“That is the intention, to make those housing environments safer and more resilient to fires, also giving the opportunity to owners to later reconvert those areas”, he explained, stressing that all the intervened areas were affected by the fire of 2018 or others.

The first intervention, which has already been completed, was carried out at the Montinho site, covering an area of ​​21 hectares and six owners. Work is now underway in Portela da Serenada and Corchas, totaling 18 hectares and 21 owners.

The Municipality of Monchique is still preparing an application for three more village condominiums in the areas of Restolho da Aveia, Belém and Corgo do Vale, in a total area of ​​35 hectares shared by 75 owners, added the mayor.

In practice, the work aims to implement fuel management strips around population clusters, by removing, above all, eucalyptus and invasive shrubs, such as acacia, and then placing species that are more adapted to the Mediterranean climate.

As the head of the Rural Development division of the Câmara de Monchique, Sónia Martinho, explained to Lusa, in places where slopes are above 25%, terraces are being opened, that is, platforms where native species will also be planted, helping to decrease the propagation speed in case of fire.

“These trees, being autochthonous, are more adapted to our climate, which is dry, the Mediterranean climate. Cork oaks, on the other hand, have self-protection against fire, which is cork, and we can say that they are more adapted to this location and that they will also have more resilience to a fire”, he said.

However, equally important is the way in which the species are being planted and how this management will be maintained in the future, he noted, regretting that agricultural areas are not included in the program, financed by funds from the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR) through of the Environmental Fund.

“It was very important for us to be able to extend this program and open it to other agglomerates, especially those with more agricultural area, because then we would achieve more effective management and an increase in productivity”, he underlined.

According to Sónia Martinho, the program’s eligibility criterion for applications is that the intervention is carried out in areas with more than 60% of forested area, so there are already few agglomerates in Monchique with this characteristic.

Speaking to Lusa, the regional director of Agriculture for the Algarve, Pedro Valadas Monteiro, considered that agricultural activity is “fundamental” for these areas to become more resilient to fire, first of all, because it is yet another income-generating activity.

“We know that one of the constraints on forestry production, we are talking about slow-growing species, is that yield takes decades, and with small vegetable gardens and orchards, agroforestry producers have an opportunity for intermediate yields”, he observed.

On the other hand, he added, the existence of agricultural areas requires land cleaning, because it interrupts the forestry continuum in the event of a fire, in addition to the fact that agriculture requires more attention from landowners, who “go there more often”. and, being there, they clean and are more vigilant to any ignition”.

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With so much bad news in the world at present, let us celebrate some good news here in Portugal for the week:

– Favourable/improving Covid-19 situation, means that it is no longer mandatory to wear masks (with few exceptions), after 2 years of doing so,

– At long last no weather warnings in place for mainland Portugal for the next few days

– Massive discounts for 2nd Class IC travel on railways means you can travel from south to north of country for just €10

– Passenger Locator Form dispensed with, which means your family and friends no longer have to complete a PLF for entry to the mainland.

– Entry into national territory by air, sea and river is authorized, in the context of essential and non-essential travel, regardless of the origin of the passengers. (See FB post yesterday)

– Today marks the last day of the 48 year dictatorship in Portugal which ended on 25th April 1974.

– The Lisbon City Council has approved the free public transport in the city for young people up to 23 years and those over 65 years, resident in Lisbon municipality

– Increased tourism – National tourist accommodations received 1.2 million guests in February, which represents an increase of 507% compared to the same month of 2021, according to data published by the National Statistics Institute (INE).

– The Portuguese MotoGP Grand Prix, between Friday and Sunday, in Portimão, can generate a direct and indirect return of around 50 million euros for the country. The company that promotes the World Motorcycle Speed Championship, Dorna, has confirmed its intention to keep the Portuguese Grand Prix on the calendar in 2023.

So let’s celebrate the Good News there is around and brighten up our day.

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Situations of attempted “phishing” – fraud committed through computer media – as we find ourselves following the evolution of this type of crime.

GNR states:

• Do not respond to emails from an unknown sender, provide personal data or click on links that are not familiar with;

• In case you have been injured in the reported situation and wish to exercise your right to make a complaint and criminal proceedings against the perpetrators, you can do so at a police station in your area of residence;

• For formalization of the right to complain, it has a period of 6 months from the date of occurrence and will be able to exercise it at any police station, keeping up with the data it possesses;

• You can file a complaint referral electronically, using the constant digital platform at the address below. You will need a Portuguese address.

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The Republican National Guard, the National Road Safety Authority and the Public Safety Police have today launched the Road Safety Campaign “Travel without a rush”.

The campaign, which runs between April 26 and May 2, 2022, aims to alert drivers to the risks of speeding.

Just a reminder that:

– “Speed is the main cause of one third of all fatal accidents”;

– “The faster we drive, the less time we have to respond, when something unexpected happens;”

– “In a 10 km journey, increasing the speed from 45 to 50 km/h allows you to gain only 1 minute and 20 seconds. Travel without a rush. ”

Road accidents need not lead to fatalities and its more serious consequences can be avoided by reducing speed.



112 – The European Emergency Call Number


Recently I was privileged to visit one of the four 112 Emergency call centres in Portugal. The one I visited was in Lisbon serving the mainland south of Santarém, Leiria and Castelo Branco included. The other three are in Porto, Madeira and the Azores.

Hopefully most of us will never encounter a situation whereby we will need the assistance of the emergency services. However, in case this becomes necessary, it is important to know how it operates and what you will be asked when making a call.

The two centres, one in Lisbon and the other in Porto, are designed to be fully independent and to ensure disruption-free operation, even if one centre experiences an overload or a failure.

Callers to 112 seek help in all types of emergency situations such as rural fires, medical or maritime distress, crime situations, and many others. Fast and efficient responses to those calls literally save lives.

The 112 call centre in Lisbon is accommodated underground and its location not advertised. The centre’s layout is similar to most call centres I have seen in several countries and on one occasion been responsible for. It comprises a massive screen which shows electronically useful indicators such as the number of calls coming in; the details of which operator is dealing with each call, the number of calls over a given period; the waiting time before calls are answered; the duration of the call; and number of calls in the queue etc.

The Public Security Police (PSP) are responsible for the operation of the call centre, but the operators are both GNR and PSP. All speaking English and some, other languages. Having police answering calls in my experience is an advantage as most have operational front line experience in dealing with such emergencies.

It is important to remember that the centre does not deploy vehicles or response teams to emergencies, which is the role of district command/control centres. . In the case of medical emergencies these are passed to the Emergency Coordination Centres (CODU) run by INEM.

Calling 112

I was there about 45 minutes, during which there were around 150 calls received, with an answering waiting time ranging from 3 to 10 seconds. Obviously the more calls that come in, especially during major incidents, the longer the answering time. This takes me to two very important points: the first is that 65% of all calls are NON-EMERGENCY – this can range from lost pets, traffic conditions; the weather and so on – there are also false calls as well. Needless to say this greatly impedes the effectiveness of the 112 system and means that the handling of genuine calls can be compromised.

The second point is that it is vital that callers continue to wait until the call in answered. This may take time when there are many calls – minutes rather than seconds. All incoming calls are in a queuing system, so if you terminate a call and call again a few minutes later, you will be at the back of a queue. This often happens in major incidents and coupled with 65% of non-emergency calls has obvious consequences.

The third point is to remain calm. This is easier said than done when a fire is raging towards your home! However it is a fact that in an emergency people are naturally under considerable stress and when speaking in a different language to the operator’s native tongue, sometimes with strong regional accents, effective communication is more difficult. Try and stay calm and wait and reply speaking as clearly and slowly as possible to the questions asked.

The process

All calls are recorded for legal reasons. The operator enters all the details obtained into the system and this record, giving location, nature of the emergency, , address and phone number etc., (not the recording) is automatically passed to the appropriate district control centre where the emergency is located, e.g. CDOS (Civil Protection), GNR or PSP. It is these centres which are responsible for deploying the appropriate resources to locate the caller/victim and coordinating and monitoring the emergency response.

The details are also automatically passed to the national control centres PSP, GNR or ANEPC in Lisbon. All centres have liaison personnel who can contact their respective commands to ensure coordination.

Try to keep your phone line free until the emergency services reach you. The dispatcher may need to contact you for further information.

Knowing your location

The Advanced Mobile Location (AML) technology is used in Portugal. An AML-enabled smartphone recognises when an emergency call is made and, if not already activated, activates the phone’s GNSS to collect the caller’s location information. The handset then sends an automatic SMS to the emergency services with the caller’s location.

The AML is dependent on several factors in the area where you are located  and therefore the location shown maybe to within a few metres, but can be several kilometres if AML is not enabled. Important for android and IOS phones, ensure in “Settings” that the “Emergency Location Service” is activated.

In giving your location you can use description, such as the road between X and Y for instance: landmarks; GPS coordinates; road numbers: milestones and Safe Residence Program house numbers. The operator may not know the exact point you are referring to, but these details are automatically passed to the district centres who have that more detailed “local” knowledge/information necessary for deployment. Remember when giving numbers speak clearly and slowly to avoid mistakes. If you speak Portuguese this is obviously preferred.

A tip is to write this down with translation and display in a prominent place in your home

Those with impaired hearing
Portuguese authorities have a facility which connects the caller to a sign language interpreter in the operational centre who translates the sign language into speech. This app can be downloaded from website and from Play Store (Android) and App Store (IOS).

What 3words

During the visit Safe Communities Portugal raised the subject of what3words a geolocation system that has divided the world into 3 metres squares. This is used by some emergency centres overseas primarily in UK but not yet in Portugal. This has been followed up following the visit and is being looked into.

David Thomas


Safe Communities Portugal


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The report from yesterday and overnight developments up to 0700 hrs today, summarized under various headings, can be downloaded here:…/

ATROCITIES IN BUSHA – Shocking images of bodies of civilians in the streets of Bucha, near Kyiv, have led to an outpouring of international condemnation of Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the town of Bucha, on the outskirts of Kiev, on Monday morning, where dozens of civilians were killed by Russian troops.

Ukraine says 50 out of some 300 bodies, found after Russian forces withdrew from Bucha were victims of extrajudicial killings by Russian troops. Satellite images show a 14-metre-long trench dug into the grounds of a church where a mass grave was found. The Ukrainian city’s funeral services claim to have located and buried around 340 bodies of civilians found on the city’s streets. Bucha was besieged by Russian troops for weeks and, after his release, hundreds of bodies were discovered in the streets, some of them with their hands tied behind their backs.

The Ukrainian military intelligence services released this Monday, on the Internet, the personal data of 1,600 Russian soldiers – including name and surname, date of birth and military rank -, integrated in the troops that acted in Bucha, near Kiev. (KI)

REACTION TO ATROCITIES – Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa stated on Twitter: that “The brutality of the images that reach us from Busha is shocking. We strongly condemn these atrocities against civilians. An unacceptable barbarity that must be vehemently punished by international justice”, wrote António Costa on his official Twitter account. (PM Twitter)

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has called for all bodies found in the town of Bucha to be exhumed and identified, to ensure that war crimes can be investigated. Bachelet said she was “horrified” by the images, which she said raised “serious and disturbing doubts about possible war crimes, serious violations of international law and serious violations of international human rights law. (UNHCR)

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez referred today in Madrid to the existence of a possible “genocide” in Ukraine with the massacre of civilians discovered in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kiev, after the withdrawal of Russian troops. (SIC)


The Russian Armed Forces have laid mines on more than 80,000 square kilometres of Ukrainian territory, more than 62,000 of which have been since the invasion of the country on February 24, announced the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.

“Following the first wave of Russian armed aggression against Ukraine in 2014, around 16,000 square kilometres of the Lugansk and Donetsk regions were contaminated with mines and remnants of war explosives,” the Ukrainian ministry said in a statement published yesterday on the occasion of the International Landmine Hazard Awareness Day.

UN SECURITY COUNCIL – Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has said he will address an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council today. Speaking during his nightly address to the Ukrainian people, Zelensky said it is in Kyiv’s interest to have an open and transparent investigation into the alleged killing of civilians in Bucha.


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Lisbon, 04 Apr 2022 (Lusa) –

The Ministry of Internal Administration (MAI) guaranteed today that the reform of the SEF will take place and that “the entire restructuring process will be clear and transparent” and in dialogue with the structures of workers.

The new Minister of Internal Administration, José Luís Carneiro, received the three unions representing the SEF this afternoon and one of the items on the agenda was “the ongoing restructuring process”, says the MAI, in a response sent to Lusa.

According to the MAI, José Luís Carneiro assured the representatives of the three unions that “the entire restructuring process will be clear and transparent, through a frank and open dialogue with the workers’ representative structures”.

During the meeting, the minister also ensured the “maintenance of the remuneration status” of the employees, that “everything will be done to protect the functional status” and “preservation of a dignified career, with prospects for progression”, as well as the “possibility of accessing leadership positions, exercising functions in European and international organizations or immigration liaison officers”.

The minister also told the unions that border training courses will start this week at the GNR and PSP, two of the police forces that will absorb the SEF’s police powers, together with the PJ.

The MAI indicates that José Luís Carneiro also realized that the restructuring process of the SEF “is an institutional evolution that corresponds to a change in political options and public policies, in accordance with the Global Pact for Migration, approved by the General Assembly of the UN, and the National Plan for the Implementation of the Global Compact on Migration, already approved and published by the Portuguese Government”.

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The tender included seven lots, for the installation of 263 MW of floating solar power plant capacity, in the first tender of its kind in Portugal.

The 7 reservoirs (4 in the North and 3 in Alentejo) are Alto Rabagão, Paradela, Salamonde, Vilarinho das Furnas, Monte da Rocha, Santa Clara and Alqueva.

In the case of lot 1, for Alqueva, the occupation of 250 hectares of water surface is planned, that is, 1% of the water surface of this reservoir in Alentejo.

Lot 1 is the only one of the seven lots to require an environmental impact study.

The other six, as they will have less than 50 MW of capacity, only involve studies of environmental incidences.

This is one of the lots that will make it possible to connect the new solar power plant to the grid as soon as built, since there is immediate availability in the electrical grid, unlike what happens in five of the seven lots up for tender, with grid availability only in December 2023.

EDP Renováveis, which won lot 1, will install a floating solar plant in Alqueva with 70 MW of capacity, complemented with 70 MW wind production capacity.