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Formentera rallies behind Italy after quake

The Formentera Council is expressing its solidarity with the Italian nation on the heels of an earthquake that rocked the centre of the country yesterday, Wednesday August 24. The catastrophe has for now left a body count of more than 240, in addition to numerous missing and injured.

Tomorrow, Friday August 26 at 12 noon, a minute of silence will be observed out of respect for the lives claimed by the earthquake and for the victim's families. It will take place on the front steps of the Council (Casa Consistorial) in the Sant Francesc town square.

Fresh charges brought against itinerant vendors, street-side promoters

foto venda ambulant agost 2016The Formentera Council president's office has reported on eight new charges, brought last weekend by the Formentera local police, of itinerant selling at island beaches. From Friday August 19 to Sunday August 21, agents of law and order issued three charges of illegally peddling jewellery and clothing as well as five charges for selling fruit and beverages. Officers confiscated 172 bracelets, 38 dresses, 174 refreshments and various pieces of fruit, sandwiches and salads. Charges were also brought in one alleged case of street-side promoting, also called “dynamic publicity”.

In recent months Formentera police have pursued 34 cases of itinerant vending and brought charges for eight counts of street-side promoting. The goal behind the current law enforcement push is to stem the instances of such crimes.

Formentera's adapted swim makes summer water leisure a reality for people with reduced mobility

foto servei adaptatServei de Salvament i Socorrisme, the lifeguard and rescue service under the president's office of the Formentera Island Council, has once again reported that it offers an adapted swim service for two groups —individuals with reduced mobility and the elderly— at es Arenals and es Pujols beaches. The two adapted beaches are equipped with retooled wooden boardwalks, a shaded rest area and a water-safe chair for adapted swimming.

Adapted swim sessions, noted Sergi Martí, head of the service, are led by two specially trained lifeguards. “For a more natural experience, family and friends can accompany the swimmer throughout,” he said.

The service is available from noon to 5.00pm seven days a week, only when the green flag flies (check sea conditions at www.platgesdebalears.com). The current flow of requests is between two and three per week. One recent user was Juan José Dueñas, who afterwards recounted, “it'd been two years since I'd been in the sea and thanks to this service I've been able to do it again.”

Socorrisme's coordinator, Martí, points to the service's target —“tourists and locals”— and says its aim is for “people with reduced mobility and seniors with impaired mobility to enjoy Formentera's waters, too”.

Spanish, Italian state police pay visit to island

visita 170816Earlier today, Jaume Ferrer, the president of the Formentera Council (CiF), welcomed a courtesy visit from Lieutenant Colonel Mario Lamura of the Carabinieri, whose duties include work at the Italian state police force's Madrid office. Lamura was joined by Warrant Officer Davide Porcelluzzi, Sergeant Marco Rosetti and Chief Loris Lunato. Acting as mediators for the Carabinieri commanders were Major Antonio Fresno of the Eivissa-Formentera Guardia Civil and Alejandro Perdigón, the warrant officer for the Spanish state police on Formentera. The visit was an opportunity to evaluate current joint operations by the two police forces on the island.

Formentera Council thanks associations, experts and volunteers for tackling s'Espalmador blaze

visita4 pequeVisiting s'Espalmador island this morning, where workers were still working to put out a blaze that began last night, CiF president Jaume Ferrer thanked Council firefighters, Formentera and Eivissa crews of the Balearic Island's ecology bureau (Ibanat), firefighters called in from Mallorca, staff of the nearby marine reserve, coast guard rescue crews, the Guardia Civil, Formentera's civil protection crews and its local police force for their work controlling the wildfire. Recognising myriad efforts (“both with logistics and helping people reach the flames”), Ferrer expressed gratitude to crews that helped watercraft anchor, Formentera-based inspection workers and “residents like Sergi Gómez who pitched in too”.

Ferrer traveled to s'Espalmador with the CiF president's office councillor, Bartomeu Escandell, and environment councillor Daisee Aguilera. Stepping off the boat, they met and thanked two members of the Formentera Ibanat crew who prepared to make the same journey in reverse. The three officials thanked CiF firefighters as well; as the local fire brigade packed up its own equipment and prepared to send it back home, aerial crews led the final firefighting work from above.

On the shore, the chief brigadier explained to officials that, excepting the still-present risk of renewed flames posed by hot ashes, the blaze had been brought under control. An Ibanat helicopter continued its task of dumping water from above while one of the bureau's two water pumps was used to extract water from the sea and wet the burned land.

“A relief”
Prepared for the worst by a feed of “often terrifying” images that continued through the night, and aware of the difficult conditions that work crews on s'Espalmador faced, the president described his initial impression of the site as “a relief,” calling the situation on the ground “better than feared”. “Now it's time,” he said, “to finish putting out the flames and give thanks for the work of our associations and firefighting teams.” According to Ferrer, “the CiF has for years requested the Govern's help dealing with the pressure that our island, and the Ses Salines park in particular, face.” That pressure, he asserted, was “unreasonable” and he said the blaze was proof “changes must occur, and fast”. Ferrer also congratulated officials on their speedy apprehension of the individual responsible for causing the fire.

Fire at 10.40pm
The Formentera Council fire brigade received notification of the fire at 10.50pm. At 11.40pm firefighting crews were working to tackle the flames, which were declared “stable” at 2.25am and “controlled” at 7.45am.

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