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You will have heard or read about the tragedy that took place here on Madeira Island last Saturday. That is why you were not able to read anything about Madeira through our blog. The loss of telephone and Internet communications, ….. but most of all we had to give our time to support our family, loved ones and friends. That is why we could not offer you news about the situation.

Gratefully the situation is now somewhat back to normal, but we regret to tell you that there were more than 40 mortal causalities. Our sincere thoughts and deepest condolences goes to their family, friends and their loved ones. Also those who are alive but have suffered … we wish them strength.

On Saturday 20th of February the island got caught in bad weather … dark clouds came over and it produced in a few hours time an extremmelly amount of rain. Heavy rainfall took place all over the island … especially in the higher mountain regions. The following result was that all that water from these high regions seeks its way down to rejoin the ocean … through rivers, waterfalls and, due to the abundance of it, the dark waters searched and created news ways to reach the coast. This caused a catastrophic situation for the regions near these waterways.

Again … the destructive part was not caused by winds, nor tropical storm, nor large destructive waves …. but merely the rain that fell on the island. The amount that fell was just overwhelming. Never, as long as people could remember, did they saw such a phenomenon like this here on Madeira Islands. We (Madeira) also experienced that the climate in the world is changing (has changed) … the same as in other countries.
The damage is now being solved and everybody is working hard to restore everything back. Victims are taken care of … thanks to the help from everybody on the island and from abroad.

I will finalize this post with the following message ….
The climate is changing … not only in our Atlantic region but also … in your own country. Madeira will prepare itself, as much as possible, for these changes. I hope that the rest of the world will do the same …


Matthijs Does · February 21, 2010 at 8:26 pm

It hearts to know so many people have lost there live by this disaster and to see the tremendous damage it’s coursed. I was shocked the moment the news reached us in the Netherlands and was very worried about al the friends we know on the island. I wish the people of Madeira much strength the coming time and hope they will recover soon from this tragedy. Our mind is by al victims and casualties.

Patti Picasso · February 21, 2010 at 8:32 pm

This post is for Don Amaro. We had news in our paper about the tragedy on your island. My husband and I visited there several months ago and you and I exchanged a few Emails after you had read my blog about the wonderful experience we had while we were there. I am so sorry about what happened but am glad to know that you are all right. Here in our part of Texas we just had a record breaking snowfall which is very unusual for our part of the world and over 22,000 homes in our area were without power for days. My children were one of those families. We all survived this new adventure in our lives and are thankful for our many blessings. Check out my blog for photographs of the snow if you’re interested. and go to the last post. I look forward to hearing from you. Pat Salazar

Editor · February 21, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Thank you for your thoughts and support. We are still seeing disturbing images on the local news … it was really a catastrophe … I have no words for it. I think Mother Nature had a very bad day that Saturday.

Marta (vieira) Monteiro · February 21, 2010 at 11:38 pm

I am a transplant in the US from Madeira. We still have some family there on the Island and were heartbroken to hear of the devestation. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. We are curious if (like 9/11, the Tsunami, and more recent the devestation in Haiti) Is there a place to go to send aid/donations to assist and help rebuild?

gilly · February 22, 2010 at 12:10 pm

My thoughts are with Madeira what a trajedy, be strong hoping that you will recover your Beautiful island, I lived there many years ago and I LOVE MADEIRA it will always be in my heart.

Andrea · February 22, 2010 at 2:58 pm

We are due to travel to Madeira in July and have been three times previously. We love the island and are so sorry to hear about the terrible floods. We wish you well with the work that you now face. Please can anyone tell me whether the Hotel Porto Santa Maria has been affected? thank you.

Gavin · February 28, 2010 at 4:49 am

Well, talking of climate change can sometimes be laced with cliche. However it is entirely pertinent to bring it into conversation when ‘freak’ weather phenomena laces an island that is often referred to as ‘the pearl of the atlantic.’ Many people regard Madeira to have a climate that is just about as close to perfect as one could possibly hope for. The editor is right in saying that the worlds weather systems are changing. Climatalogical research by scientists tells us that it always has changed, pre-industrialization and anthropomorphic activity. However this is not to say that we (Homo Sapiens) are not a cause of global warming. I’m sure many readers are aware of the term; ‘anthropocene,’ it is simply a tweeking of the term ‘holocene epoch’ which is an interglacial period in the earths climactic cycle which we are evidently living in. However Anthropocene, refers to the effect that human beings have on the planet, as a kind of speeding up of the earths natural cycles, therefore giving civilization and technological advancement less time to react to such rapid change. It is ironic how industrialization and technology caused the so-called anthropocene, it is now going to be the ONLY solution. We have, as a species always being adabtable to our environment and in the perpetually-advancing technological era in which we find ourselves, there is no reason to suggest that we cannot as a species adapt to an ever-changing climate. The discussion of global warming needs to be stripped of its pessimism and misanthropy if we are to adapt cohesively and sucessfully and also stripped of cliche if we are to have a serious discussion on the matter. I find the editors last paragraph on this post admirable and completely agree with him, it is only adabtability and agreement to change that we can prosper.

Shaun · March 3, 2010 at 4:23 pm

The type of disaster which happened in Funchal and Ribiera Brava is not unknown in England. Google “Boscastle Flood 2004” and separately “1952 Lynmouth Flood” for details of two better known ones on the south-west coast of England.

Lynmouth bears striking similarities to what happened in Madeira 20/02/10. In that case 24 people were lost from one small village.

These are ‘normal’ natural disasters having nothing to do with global warming or cooling. Call it “God having a bad day”.

I was in the valley of the Ribiera Brava from 12th to 18th February. There was a landslide up near Estalagem Encumeada overnight Sunday/Monday. At 0815 we went down the hill on the #6 bus, which managed to get past without incident. The mountains were saturated and this slide showed how wet they were.

I was well impressed that, by the time we returned from Funchal that night, the slide had been all cleared away and the road was fully functional. Right now I must compliment the workers and managers responsible for the rapid response.

I was very upset to hear what happened on the Saturday and sympathise with all those who lost loved ones. Madeira will sort this out. People who cling to the sides of mountains are tough, resilient people. I saw how you built your levadas.

I am aware of how many Maderians died during the tunnelling and the building of the via rapida. I am also aware they died in part for me, so that I could drive from Funchal, via Ribiera Brava and Sao Vincente to Porto Moniz in less than an hour.

I love your island. I love your people and I will be back, next time hopefully with a few more euros to help your economy. Thank you for giving me the most wonderful holiday of my life.

Obrigado eu.

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