raised indirectly through international humanitarian organisations
raised to the fire brigade
Video of the industrial area of Oliveira de Frades partially destroyed by the fire
On October 15th 2017, winds from Hurricane Ophelia fanned wildfires in both Portugal and Spain. In Portugal 45 people died, making this year by far the deadliest on record for forest blazes in the country (109 deaths in total).
The fires took place in central and north Portugal, and Oliveira de Frades was amongst the most affected municipalities. Tragically one person died, dozens of houses were destroyed and hundreds of jobs were lost as the fires destroyed most of the industrial area.
Strong winds from Hurricane Ophelia, a densely populated forest with non-native eucalyptus and gum trees, political inaction, and a lack of firefighting resources were amongst the causes of the terrible tragedy.
Photo: João Porfírio, Observador
The vast majority of the Volunteer Firefighters of Oliveira de Frades are unpaid voluntary workers. They provide services such as fire-fighting, ambulance assistance, and patient transport, amongst others. They fought bravely, but they needed help to prevent this from happening again.
The main difficulties faced by the fire brigade include:
The Volunteer Firefighters of Oliveira de Frades
We worked together with the volunteer firefighters to create the Friends of Oliveira de Frades Volunteer Fire Department (ABVOF in Portuguese). The main channel of communication with the citizens is initially social media (Facebook and Instagram). The aim of this group of citizens is to support, promote, and carry out social and cultural events, that are compatible with the goals of the fire brigade.
An example of a publication on Facebook
The first initiative carried out by the ABVOF was designing two online fundraising campaigns that raised a total of 1,383€. The money was used by the fire brigade to buy individual firefighting equipment.
The lack of human resources was identified as one of the main difficulties of the fire brigade. There are currently 30 staff members, when 20 years ago there were 120 staff members. We are currently working on a campaign to encourage young people (6 to 17 years old) to join the academy, and adults (18 to 45 years) to join the fire brigade.
In Tondela and Oliveira de Frades, the Tzu Chi Foundation (an international humanitarian organisation) distributed 100,000€ to farmers who were not covered by any state or municipal support. The ABVOF was the initial link between the foundation and the Municipality of Oliveira de Frades, and also helped them with the recruitment of volunteers.
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