Edition 1462
10 February 2018
Edition: 1462

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Portugal rallies to protect vulnerable during cold snap

in News · 08-02-2018 13:13:00 · 0 Comments

Councils across the country implemented extraordinary civil protection measures this week to protect their most vulnerable citizens, such as the elderly and the homeless, as well as animals, from the biting cold snap.

Portugal rallies to protect vulnerable during cold snap

Subway stations were kept open in Lisbon and Porto to offer shelter to the homeless during the coldest nights of this week’s chilly weather, when overnight lows in some places plunged to below zero.
On top of country-wide recommendations issued by the national Civil Protection authority – including sound advice to bundle up when out and about and keep homes heated – extraordinary measures were implemented to make sure the more vulnerable citizens were kept warm.
On Monday night, over 80 hot meals were served at the Graça sports pavilion in Lisbon, and 16 people were able to have a hot bath.
Even though the extra measures were only due to come into force from Tuesday, when the start of the cold snap was forecast, Lisbon Councillor for Education and Social Rights, Ricardo Robles, said the council had “pre-empted the contingency plan because temperatures [on Monday] were very low.”
Lisbon council’s cold contingency plan, as with others across the country, is reviewed on a daily basis, and will be kept in place as long as temperatures are colder than normal.
It was activated on Monday at 7pm and expected to remain in place at least until the end of the week.
The coldest of the weather was forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday, when the average minimum would be around three degrees Celsius, in some places dipping to below zero.
Meanwhile, the city of Faro, in the Algarve, created support teams to help the homeless during the cold snap. The teams were tasked with trawling the streets and handing out blankets and warm clothing to the homeless and those with special needs.
According to Faro Council, the “drastic drop” in temperatures forecast by the Met Office required a special contingency plan to protect vulnerable communities and citizens.
Portugal’s president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, has praised the work being carried out under the National Strategy for the Integration of People in a Homeless Situation (ENIPSSA), stressing that there are “many thousands more” such people in this country than originally thought.
“I want to congratulate the State Secretary for setting up a national strategy in one year and a few months, to replace the one that had ended its term of implementation more than two years ago”, de Sousa said.
On Tuesday, Lisbon’s Ombudswoman for Animals issued a statement asking for all animal owners to bring their pets in from outdoor spaces, such as balconies, backyards, gardens and terraces, to keep them warm.
In her appeal, the Ombudswoman stressed that “animals are sentient beings and it is the responsibility of all of us to protect them from situations that could cause physical and mental suffering, as is the case of exposure to extreme temperatures.”
Animal boxes were made available at the Manuel Castelo Branco Municipal Pavilion, for the homeless with pets.
The cold spell that swept not only Portugal but the whole of Europe this week caused travel chaos and thermometers to plummet.
Madrid airport had to close one of its runways for a number of hours on Monday due to snow, while snow also fell in Athens and France, where it closed the Eiffel Tower, and lakes froze over in Italy.

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Edition 1462
10 February 2018
Edition: 1462

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter

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