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Local News in Ibiza

Local News
by Louise Wright

Unlikely Weather for Ibiza



 
Ibiza Local News

Low temperatures, rain and gale force wind, unlikely weather for Ibiza but a sure sign that winter has arrived.

Most of mainland Spain and the Balearic Isles are suffering extreme weather conditions, some places registering the strongest wind on record.

The Instituto Nacional de Meteorología (National Meteorological Institute) announced the arrival of the cold weather on Friday 9th November: "A band of bad weather from the north is going to affect the whole of Spain, except the Canary Isles, during the next week" and they were right.

Temperatures dropped six degrees on Friday 9th November, decreasing from 22 degrees centigrade on Thursday 8th to 16°C.

The winds gusting up to 140 kilometres per hour were definitely everyone's main fear as the Dirección General de Protección Civil (General Management of civil Protection) warned Ibiza residents to stay indoors, close all the windows, remove all objects from balconies that could be carried off by the wind and, finally, not to walk near the coastline.

Also forecast was the possibility of snow above 400 metres. Considering that some of Ibiza's highest points are over 500 metres high, a lot of the locals prepared for snow, which fortunately for some, never arrived.

Weather conditions had improved slightly by Saturday 10th November with maximum temperatures of 12°C and winds reaching 120 kilometres per hour.

The fire brigade and the police department were kept busy clearing fallen trees, electric and telephone cables and other debris caused by the wind.

One of the main problems was the multiple road accidents as a result of slippery roads caused by the heavy rain, which in some areas of Ibiza registered 28 litres per square metre.

One of the local firemen said: "Even though we have answered more than a hundred emergency calls in 24 hours, none of the damage has been serious.

Fallen trees and broken windows and window frames seems to be the main problem".

In more serious cases, roads in Port des Torrent had to be closed because rocks, sand and pieces of wood blowing off the beach were endangering drivers' safety.

Salvamento Marítimo (Marine Rescue Service) participated in a rescue operation on Saturday 10th November when ‘Star Sailor' yacht lost control during the bad weather. Salvamento Marítimo rescued the four Germans who were on board and got them back to land safely.

One of the rescuers said: "It was a difficult operation but everything turned out well. But a lot of boats were destroyed or lost in the storm."

Over the weekend (Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th November) the Balearic Islands emergency service 112 registered 11,000 emergency calls, 142 of these calls coming from Ibiza.

The fire brigade service has been on full alert all weekend, answering all types of emergency calls. One fireman even said: "We have never had to work so hard.

One of my companions hasn't slept in two nights while another fireman has been trapped on Formentera for days." The local boat service between Ibiza and neighbouring island Formentera was cancelled.

Ibiza and Formentera have been totally isolated from mainland Spain via sea as leading ferry companies Trasmediterranea and Balearia cancelled all services connecting Ibiza to main ports such as Valencia, Denia and Barcelona.

One of the captains of the Ibiza-Formentera ferries said: "You would have to be mad to try and leave the port in this weather.

"This is definitely the strongest wind in Ibiza since 1980."

A spokesperson for AENA (local airport) said: "The airport has functioned with complete normality and none of our flights have been affected by the severe weather conditions".

Meanwhile, electrical company Gesa has assured all their clients that despite some minor problems, the loss of electric only affected 0.2% of their clients.

The Instituto Nacional de Meteorología has predicted more rain and winds up to 140 kilometres per hour for this weekend.

Schools remained closed on Thursday 15th November throughout the Balearic Isles and all local authorities advised Ibiza residents to stay at home in a bid to avoid any possible tragedies.

Alternatives

Instead of remaining indoors feeling happy or sad about the unusual weather, some people are taking advantage of the wind.

On the morning of Saturday 10th November, a small group of people gathered on Playa den Bossa beach to enjoy the seven metre high waves and practice their favourite sport: windsurfing.

The local windsurfs were definitely amazed by this unique experience of enjoying such high waves on the Ibicencan beaches.

Peter Whaley, a resident on the island with more than 30 years experience of windsurfing, said: "These are not the best conditions for windsurfing but we are enjoying the experience all the same".

It's nice to see that someone is finding a use for all the bad weather.

Fashion Show

It was not just the windsurfs who braved the bad weather on Saturday 10th November.

The ‘I Salón Interprofesional' Pasarela Tendencias 2001 (I Professional Fashion Show 2001) got off to a successful start.

Despite the weather, the Vara de Rey in Ibiza Town was turned in to a temporary catwalk on Saturday evening when 20 models presented the latest fashions for 2002.

The aim of the fashion show, which was sponsored by 53 local businesses and organized by Pimeef (Small and Medium Businesses Organization), was to display the latest hair styles and wedding bouquets, as well as fashion.

The wedding dresses by designers Ketty, Carol and Elegancia were the stars of the show.

Bouquets of flowers and a wedding cake shared by 600 attendants at the end of the show gave the fashion an original touch.

As well as local designs from Ibicencan businesses, the latest fashion collection from clothes designers such as Vivian Westwood, Hugo Boss, Atelier and Roberto Cavalli, among others, were also one of the shows features.

The fashion show presenter, model Salvador Guerrero, concluded the night saying: "This is a great opportunity to see the range of quality products that can be found in the shops in Ibiza, which may have gone unnoticed before tonight."

World Travel Market

Two people who have missed out on the bad weather are the councillors of Tourism from the Consell Insular (Island Council), Josep Marí Ribas, and from the Govern Balear (Balearic Government), Celestí Alomar who both travelled to London this week.

The aim of their trip was to attend the World Travel Market on Monday 12th November where they discussed the situation of the tourist industry with the executive director of the British Tourist Authority Jeff Hambling and the Minister of Tourism Kim Howells.

This comes after the Instituto Balear de Turismo (Balearic Institute of Tourism) released a survey in which they declared that tourism in Ibiza will remain the same even after the 11th September tragedies.

According to the Instituto Balear de Turismo, the drop in figures in comparison to 2001 reservations is down to the fact that British people don't reserve their holidays until the last minute so that they benefit from special offers.

They also added that if the 11th September tragedies were going to affect Ibicencan tourism, which they find very unlikely, it would only affect families who may be frightened to fly with children".

New Management System For Can Misses Hospital

The Servei Balear de Salut (Balearic Health Service) held a meeting on Thursday 8th November in a bid to reach an agreement on the type of management system to be used to control Can Misses hospital and all other public medical centres in Ibiza and Formentera.

The three-hour meeting gathered representatives of the Balearic Health Service, directors of Insalud (management of Can Misses hospital at present) and a group of 15 doctors, who discussed what type of modifications needed to be made to the hospital's management system.

At present, the management of the general physicians is separated from that of specialized doctors, resulting in problems at times of making important decisions.

"Once the hospital's management is united the problems should disappear. We want each sector to maintain it's independence but at the same time share common views", according to Juli Fuster, manager of the Balearic Health Service, who considers that a united management is the best solution to all the problems.

Some benefits of the new system would be the improvement of health care as well as stabilizing doctors' wages.

Juli Fuster added: "Our idea is to create a system open to the opinions of different doctors as it is the doctors who have to live and work with our decisions".

"They know more about the reality of hospital life than we ever will, that is why it is so important to us that they back our decisions".

Some other problems that were also discussed at the meeting was the need to finish the repairs that were started to Can Misses hospital last winter. A new medical centre for Santa Eulalia, a specialized centre in Formentera and two new public health centres for Ibiza Town are also on the list of priorities.

The need for more general physicians and specialized doctors was also discussed.

The manager of the Balearic Health Service says: "These are the basic problems that need to be solved as soon as possible".

Another two meetings will be held before the two management systems unite.

The first of these meetings will be held to discuss economic matters.

The Balearic Health Service estimates the hospital's expenses for 2002 at 5,800 million pesetas of which 1,300 million pesetas will be spent on wages, 3,500 million pesetas on general hospital expenses and a further 1,000 million pesetas on investments.

The hospital management will also require an undisclosed annual amount to finish the pending construction work.

After this, a further meeting will be held to finalize the decisions over the new management system.

Louise Wright

louisewright@liveibiza.com