Preparation for the evacuation of São Jorge
… if seismic crisis worsens
The national edition of JM reports that the Regional Government of the Azores is preparing scenarios for the evacuation of people from the island of São Jorge, in case the seismic crisis, which has been going on since Saturday, worsens, the regional secretary for Health revealed today.
“We are taking care of this problem permanently with the best technicians so that, if necessary, we have the answer prepared to intervene. This response has a nature in terms of the need for evacuations and health care and all this is being prepared so that, in our hope, it will not be necessary”, said the holder of the Health portfolio in the Azores, Clélio Meneses, at a press conference in Angra do Heroísmo.
Since Saturday afternoon, more than 1,800 earthquakes have been recorded on the island of São Jorge, 104 of which were felt by the population. Only today, since midnight, 22 occurrences were felt.
According to Clélio Meneses, who also oversees Civil Protection, users admitted to the Velas Health Center, which is closer to the epicenters of the earthquakes, will be transferred to the Calheta Health Center, on the other end of the island of São Jorge, “ in order to prevent any situation that makes movement, mobility and some evacuation more difficult”.
It is also being identified, in collaboration with the Municipality of Velas, “the number of people with mobility affected, in order to have increased protection”.
“We are going to the detail of identifying all the points of difficulty in order to be able to intervene quickly and effectively in order to guarantee the safety of people”, stressed the holder of the Health portfolio.
Clélio Meneses also said that the Azorean executive had contacted Atlânticoline, the public company responsible for the maritime transport of passengers in the Azores, and with the Armed Forces “for the need to be emergent” to remove people.
Human resources from the Azores Regional Civil Protection and Fire Service (SRPCBA) and the Azores Seismovolcanic Surveillance and Information Center (CIVISA) have already been sent to the island of São Jorge and “firefighters from other islands are being prepared for the need of having to move” to that island.
“We are allocating the available means and, above all, we are preparing ourselves in order to give an immediate, effective and efficient response”, reinforced the minister.
“A multi-casualty trailer, search and intervention equipment in collapsed structures, buried detectors, search cameras and stabilization equipment” also went to São Jorge today.
Also according to Clélio Meneses, there is no evidence that there is volcanic activity on the island of São Jorge, but the entities must be prepared to give “an adequate response”.
“We are prepared to help in real-time, knowing that we are facing a catastrophe if it happens. If it doesn’t happen, that’s good and it just proves that the Regional Civil Protection Service of the Azores, the firefighters in the region and the entire Regional Health Service are prepared to help in the event of a storm ”, he said.