Funchal, the capital city of the Portuguese island of Madeira, was threatened and surrounded by a large fire August 8-10. It killed at least three people and forced authorities to evacuate homes, hotels and two hospitals, forcing over 2,000 people to flee. Approximately 160 homes were destroyed.
Our Dehonian communities –– Colégio Missionário Sagrado Coração (minor seminary); Colégio Infante Dom Henrique (Dehonian School); and Escola da APEL (school) –– were enveloped in a very dense cloud of smoke and fire. The air was unbreathable; it was total chaos throughout the city. We have neighbors who lost their homes; 22% of the city of Funchal was burned.
At first we welcomed evacuees at the Colégio Missionário, but 12 hours later we had to evacuate everyone. I stayed with four confreres and two postulants who helped to extinguish the fire that was close to our house.
We want to inform our confreres, relatives, friends and benefactors that our communities and our confreres are safe from danger.
The photos illustrate the tragedy we have experienced in our communiites and in the city of Funchal.
We thank all for the support that we have received and we remain united in prayer for all those who were victims of this terrible tragedy.