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Local News
by Louise Wright

Extreme Weather Conditions

Ibiza Local News

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 idea.

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 methods.

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 Ibiza".

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, etc.

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.

Contamination Control

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!

Louise Wright