8 years have passed after this tragic event on our island!
After wiping away tears, mourning, and looking forward, a doubt still persists:
“And if it happened again, would we be better prepared? Would human and material damage be on a smaller scale? What has been done since then to minimise these tragedies ? ”
Doubts … many doubts … Words by António Rosa Cartaxo.
For those of us who were hear on the island, it is a day that will stick in our minds for the rest of our lives.
The rain was beating down, back then I had my dog Alfie. I suggested to Nelio we get in the car and go take him for a walk under the airport, where it will be dry, as it looked like the rain was set to fall for sometime.
As we made our way from home and entered the motorway, we instantly saw the amount of water that had been falling, it was running down the roads, the walls of the tunnels, like nothing we had seen, each exit we then started to pass was submerged in water, and impossible to exit, as we carried on, it soon became clear we couldn’t exit for under the airport, and had to carry on. We eventually exited at Machico and pulled up at the petrol station. the rain water was just pouring over the sides everywhere.
I let Alfie out to do his business, and we then just sat in the car for a while, after hearing the expressway was closed going back towards Caniço due to a landslide, and mass of water streaming down, we sat listening to the radio, this is when we heard of the first death due to the bad weather. We sat for 2 hours not knowing what to do, or how long it would take to maybe getting back home. As we listened to the radio, more bad news kept coming in, landslides, floods, the city of Funchal was soon under water, more deaths, one after the other.
We decided we needed to get back home, and joined the huge queue of traffic on the expressway, not knowing how long it would take. We passed emergency services in the tunnel pumping out water to try and keep one lane open to the traffic, we then got to see where the water had come down, blocking the whole of the expressway, but the emergency services had opened one lane, and we were slowly allowed to pass.
After what was meant to be a quick trip out with my dog for a dry walk under the airport, we made it back home after 5 hours. All mobile communications were down, so nobody could get hold of each other, and it wasn’t till we were home and sat watching the live news feed from all the different areas of the island, that you realised what a tragedy it was, as more and more images and deaths came in.
Canico de Baixo, Riu Palace looses it’s car park
Promanade Caniço de Baxio
I have a few albums of this tragic event on my Flickr site, which you can see.