After the extreme weather conditions suffered
all over the Balearic Isles from 10th to 16th November, the
Balearic community is starting to come to grips with the extent
of the damage.
The president of the Balearic Isles Francesc
Antich is hoping to approve by Monday 3rd December a government
"help plan" that will offer people compensation
if they suffered material loses as a result of the storms.
This government funded project will help
the Balearic community get back to normal after the storms
left a trail of damage and destruction across the islands.
One of the most noticeable consequences
is that the majority of the Ibicencan beaches have been left
with less than half the amount of sand that they had before.
Immediately after the storm, the Ibicencan
community started manifesting the need to restore the sand
lost, before the start of the new summer season.
But the Balearic Government had a different
The "green" councillor Margalida
Rosselló made a statement from the Ministry of Environment
declaring: "We consider it best to let nature take its
course and restore the beaches without the need of using artificial
The solution is not to pump new sand on
to the beaches but to find a long term solution, which will
avoid this problem in the future".
The coastal general director Onofre Rullán
backed the councillor's decision as he considers that "
restoring the beaches by adding sand will have a negative
effect on the seabed".
After Rosselló's declaration, the
Balearic Government received various complaints from Ibiza
residents who consider that "beaches are essential for
After listening to the public opinion, the
Balearic Government changed its mind.
Government spokesman Antoni Garcías
rectified his companion, Margalida Rosselló, in a new
statement: "There is an urgent need to restore all the
beaches in the Balearic Isles that were destroyed or damaged
in the storm.
We want the beaches to be back to their
original state before next summer".
Vicent Tur, Balearic president of the opposition,
also supported the Government's change of decision: "We
have to regain the sand we have lost in the storm. But we
also have to adopt measures to avoid this happening again.
For now, our main priority is the tourist
industry and how this situation will affect it.
We have to concentrate in proving to everyone
that our beaches haven't lost their qualities".
The Balearic Government supports the idea
of letting the Ministry of Environment work on the beaches
that have practically disappeared as a result of the storm.
Aigües Blanques, Port Sant Miquel,
s'Estany des Peix and Llevant are the beaches that have been
most affected by the weather, and Formentera has calculated
loses of 23 million pesetas.
Antoni Garcías also made it clear
that there is a difference between restoring and regenerating.
To restore a beach means to bring it back to its natural state.
While regenerating is a technique used to enlarge a beach,
using artificial instruments.
Garcías added: "The aim of the
project is to have the beaches looking the same as last year
before the new season starts".
Balearic Coast Demarcation will work on
every case after the Ministry of Environment's inspectors
analyse and inspect the consequences of the extreme weather
conditions at each location.
The head of the Balearic Coast Demarcation
Fernando Garrido has assured the Government that the beaches
will be restored before May 2002.
The Ministry of Environment has promised
2,200 million pesetas to help repair the damage that was caused
during the storm.
Of this figure, 400 million pesetas are
already being used to start the repair work.
The Government Delegation of the Balearics
has warned the Council of Education about the arrival of a
large number of immigrants, mostly children, to the island.
The Government is worried that with more
than 700 foreign families expected to arrive on the island,
approximately 1,400 children will need to be incorporated
into the Balearic education system.
Already schools in Ibiza have received more
than 400 applications from immigrant children that want to
start classes, even though the school year is well under way.
Coloma Ferrer, education consultant, said:
"The main problem is where to place all these new children
that are arriving in Ibiza. The classes are already full and
we are running out of solutions".
4´51% of students in the Balearic
Isles are immigrant children from other countries such as
Morocco, Germany, France, Colombia, Great Britain, Argentina,
Last year, 232 extra teachers were employed
to teach these immigrant children to speak Spanish, explain
the Spanish culture and to understand the contents of the
subjects they are being taught.
On the other hand, the teachers have also
to be taught how to teach immigrant children that may show
difficulties when learning a new culture.
The teachers also feel the need to understand
their pupil's culture so that they can relate to the situation
the children are in.
Last year 600 children started classes in
the middle of the school year. So for this year this figure
stands at 205 and rising rapidly.
The Government will have to start considering
new education possibilities if they don't want to end up with
overcrowded classrooms through out the Balearic Isles.
The Balearic Ministry of Environment has recently bought a
mobile unit to measure air quality in areas that don't possess
a fixed unit.
According to Margalida Rosselló,
environment councillor, "Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera
will all benefit from the new equipment as at the moment they
don't possess any monitoring system".
The new machine, bought at the start of
the summer, cost 210,354 Euros (35 million pesetas) and will
start functioning in the next few weeks.
The equipment, which will be operated by
engineering consultants, will be first used to monitor the
emissions from the electrical generating company Gesa.
The machine will detect levels of carbon
dioxide, nitrogen, hydro carbonates, etc., as well as monitoring
the temperature wind speed and direction, humidity levels
As the results are known, companies will
hopefully be forced to implement pollution control measures.
With practically no pollution on any of the three Balearic
Isles in comparison to the rest of the world, any measures
that the government introduces to keep it that way will be
good news to all us residents.
So I'm off for a walk to enjoy the lovely
clean Ibicencan air! See you next week!