The, mayor of São Brás de Alportel, António Eusébio, has spoken out about his disappointment regarding the speed of rebuilding the homes of local residents that were destroyed in the fires in the area during the summer 2012.
Speaking to the Portuguese news agency Lusa, the mayor said that he was bitterly disappointed that all important funds needed to pay for the reconstruction of homes in the area has been delayed.
The works to begin to rebuild homes are due to start today with the Portuguese government providing almost half of the funding, 202,000 euros and the rest of the funds expected to be paid by the government within the next two years.
Mayor of São Brás de Alportel, António Eusébio said that the work on rebuilding the houses could have already begun but the local institution responsible for developing the reconstruction project decided to wait for further support leading to the delays in the building.
However, despite the delays facing the building projects the mayor said that he felt that the process to support the affected families had been a positive one, although the money given to stabilise the soil in the area and to clean waterways affected by the fires has not been an adequate amount to ensure that they are recovered properly.
The mayor explained that budget cuts meant that not nearly enough money was designated for projects. He explained: “We made a request for 977.000 euros to be used for the sowing of seeds and for soil protection and treatment but we were only given a budget of 343.000 euros for this.”
The bulk of the funds have been spent on replanting in the area with the mayor lamenting that only 100.000 euros has been dedicated to the treatment of water in the area after the fire.
The lack of funds has led to the municipality lodging a complaint to ask for a verification of the funds allocated to the projects.
After the fires in the area that destroyed 24.000 hectares of land in the Tavira and São Brás regions between July 18 and 21, the government pledged to help to pay to recover the areas from the damages.
In October 2012 the government approved 1.5 million euros in funding to help Tavira and São Brás with 844.000 euros for São Brás, 460.000 euros for the rebuilding of homes.
In total 18 homes were destroyed in the fires in the São Brás area with a further five being destroyed in the Tavira area.