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Pedrógão Grande fire - survivors and relatives left to fend for themselves

FireLeiriaSmallCarsRelatives of those who died in the Pedrógão Grande fire, which killed an estimated 64 people in mid-June, have criticised the authorities for the lack of available information and a distinct lack of the psychological support that was promised.

At a meeting to discuss the statutes for an ‘Association of Fire Victims of Pedrógão Grande’ those present discussed taking the State to court for its appalling lack of contact, lack of detail and lack of support after one of Portugal’s worst disasters on record.

At the meeting on Monday, July 24th, those present criticised the lack of information, the bureaucracy, the non-disclosure of the official list of victims and a lack of psychological support.

The possibility of creating a memorial to the victims was discussed as well as proceeding with a collective law suit against the State, but organiser, Nadia Piazza, stressed that these decisions has yet to be made.

At the meeting, many reported there had been a lack of psychological support, especially for children but also for adults. One couple who lost their child in the fire was forced to pay fees for psychological counselling.

"In practice, in terms of health, people are alone, they have to go after psychological support," said Nadia Piazza, who said she has "never been contacted for anything."

Nádia Piazza said that relatives do not have access to the official list of victims of the fire, if such a list exists, and everyone is lacking "concise and useful information."

"Small bureaucratic issues are grinding people down," said Piazza, noting that information about the possibility of support or what to do about burnt-out cars, simply is not being provided – “people just don’t know where they are.”

At the meeting, to which 40 people came, the statutes were defined and the Association should formally be constituted on August 13 at a general meeting.

The fire that broke out on June 17 in Pedrógão Grande, in the district of Leiria, consumed 40,000 of forest area, caused at least 64 people to die and wounded more than 200 people. The blaze was extinguished after a week of intense firefighting.

Of the victims of the fire, at least 47 died in their vehicles on the EN236.1, between Castanheira de Pera and Figueiró dos Vinhos.

Ministers and the President of the Republic soon were on the scene promising that everything possible would be done to help the survivors and their families.

This message seems not to have filtered down through layers of bureaucracy and those left bereft, broke and in mourning do not seem to have had much help at all.

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+4 #4 Neil M 2017-08-01 21:12
Was struck by the following:
"Salazar's control of publicity" don't know how to tell you this, but Salazar died in 1968, there was a Revolution here in 1974.
-7 #3 Daphne 2017-07-26 17:05
There is absolutely no logical reason to connect London with Pedrogao Grande. These countries have substantially different histories, cultures and, different by centuries, consequently public administrations. The Grenfell Tower fire is bedevilled by the property owners not knowing who was actually 'officially' in the building during the fire. Any tenant or room owner should have been able to declare who was there at the time. They haven't. Dental records, when you do not even know the country of origin (and that country may not even keep dental records!) is therefore complicated.

Amongst much else, what is desperately sad is that in Portugal the Salazar control of publicity means we get again a 'total' of 64' dead - to keep below worst ever global firestorm totals, when the total may be well above 3 figures (100+ for the numerically challenged)

Check out the post 'Forest Fires' on http://britishexpats.com.

Much of this discussion is on why was the distances from roads and homes - 50 metres from lone buildings, 100 metres from villages etc & 10 metres from roadside verges - was so totally ignored over the years. One of the regular posters suffered and describes only just escaping with his family (and dogs) life. But, to be on the safe side - as with all Expat websites in Portugal - ask the administrator of the website first !!! This is not northern Europe and, bizarrely, we must respect their limitations and idiosyncrasies.

Yet, at this moment, we have 1500 firemen fighting Castelo Branco's fires !
+2 #2 dw 2017-07-26 09:38
Quoting mj1:
Meantime in london the govt are in the process of rehousing those affected , and given out money etc, put them up in hotels

The situation in London seems very similar with protests and complaints about help not getting through to those that need it.
0 #1 mj1 2017-07-25 21:33
Meantime in london the govt are in the process of rehousing those affected , and given out money etc, put them up in hotels

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