News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
In association with
Week November 14th to November 20th 2002
FIRES RAGE ACROSS ANDALUCIA
High temperatures and drought conditions lead to a high risk autumn
By David Eade and Dave Jamieson
FIRES CAUSED HAVOC ALONG THE COSTA LAST WEEKEND WITH BLAZES IN MIJAS, LOS MONTES DE MÁLAGA, THE AREAS OF OLÍAS AND CAMPANILLAS, OJÉN AND GRANADA, WHERE A 28-YEAR-OLD MAN LOST HIS LIFE.
The first fire broke out on Friday in the Sierra de Mijas. The blaze affected 20 hectares of woodland, 10 hectares of scrubland and also urban areas. Fifty people had to abandon their homes in La Batana and 70 people in Buenavista and another 300 in Osunillas were put on standby.
Four fire fighting planes and two helicopters fought the blaze along with nine fire engines and support units from all the emergency services. One fireman, a policeman and a number of residents from the area were treated for the effects of smoke inhalation.
HOMES THREATENED IN RINCÓN
Another blaze, which broke out around 12.30 on Saturday, threatened homes around Rincón de la Victoria. Firefighters believe the blaze to have been started by two workers on the Olías to Málaga road, both of whom have been detained. Fire crews, police officers and Civil Protection operatives fought the outbreak which spread rapidly in strong winds, with the smoke and smell evident across Málaga City. Three more outbreaks were detected in surrounding areas, and numerous families were evacuated along with a number of holidaymakers camping nearby. A group of around 100 children and adolescents, aged between 7 and 21, were moved to a safe point from a cortijo, which the flames reached just half an hour after they left. The wind gradually pushed the fire to the edge of Rincón, close to the new commercial centre, forcing a 90 minute closure of the N-340 coast road.
On Sunday evening a new fire was discovered in an area of pine forest in the Sierra de Ojén. Fire crews from the provinces of Málaga and Cádiz raced to the scene. Although the blaze was wiped up by a strong north easterly wind the prompt response by the emergency sources enabled them to gain control of the blaze.
MAN DIES IN GRANADA BLAZE
In the Sierra de Bodijar, Granada, a fire which began at 10.15 on Saturday claimed the life of one man, and destroyed many hectares of forest and agricultural land. The 28-year-old man was burned to death in the massive blaze, when he attempted to rescue his father who had become trapped by the flames. Over 2,700 hectares were razed as more than 100 firefighters, two of whom were injured, worked through darkness in an attempt to control the outbreak which continued into Monday.
The authorities have attributed the outbreaks to carelessness in the very warm and dry conditions, which means that November continues to be classed as a month of high risk.
NERJA TOPS 1,500 COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS
Highest ever level reflects healthy local economy
By Dave Jamieson
FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, NERJA HAS OVER 1,500 COMMERCIAL BUSINESSES DEALING WITH THE PUBLIC.
Figures out last week show that 27 per cent of these are hotels, bars and restaurants. As many as 130 new traders registered in the first 10 months of the year, while only 39 went out of business. A total of 350 bars and restaurants are open to the public, 60 hotels and hostals, 100 gift shops and 60 food shops.
the property sector, the town boasts 60 estate agents and 10 construction
firms, which together turned over 150 million euros in the last
year. The total number of Nerja's commercial operations, at 1,520,
is 10 per cent up on last year.
The President of the Association of Businesses in Nerja, Agapito Sanchidrián, said that the level of commercial activity indicated the healthy economic state of the town, but warned of saturation, particularly in the low tourism months. He said that small businesses then have a hard time, with one in 10 choosing to close until spring.
EASY MOTORWAY ACCESS
The local councillor responsible, José Miguel Jimena, attributed the rise to the accessibility of Nerja, thanks to the new autovía, which has completely annulled the 50 per cent drop seen some years ago. He predicted that, once completed, the new golf course would trigger a further increase in the municipality's economic activity.
REMEMBRANCE DAY SERVICES
The Royal British Legion celebrated Remembrance Day with religious services being held along the whole of the coast last Sunday. In Fuengirola, the vicar from St. Andrews Church in Los Boliches led the packed congregation in prayer at the Salón de Varietes and the TIMS choir led the singing. Readings were given by Cmdr.Peter Hammond, Vice-President District Spain South and by Mr. David Lloyd, Chairman District Spain South.
For the first time there were three ladies on the platform, Mrs.Betty Davies, Vice-Chairman of District Spain South; Mrs.Doreen Peplow, Chairman of Mijas Costa Branch and Mrs. Mary Le Corney, Chairman of Torremolinos Branch. Local Scout troops took up the collection in aid of the Poppy Appeal. The whole event was organised by Mr.Eric Duckworth, Poppy Officer for District Spain South.
ESTEPONA RESIDENTS STAGE PROTEST
By David Eade
The owners of properties in the Estepona Golf urbanisation situated near the zone Arroyo Vaquero are angry about the lack of basic infrastructure in the area. One major complaint is the lack of an acceleration lane where the access road to their homes meets the new dual carriageway section of the N-340.
Manuel Sánchez Rodríguez, spokesman for the 200 families who live in the area, has protested to the local town hall. He stated that just because the urbanisation is private doesn't mean the owners don't have the same rights as other Estepona residents. He pointed out that the urbanisation only had a basic telephone network and residents have to collect their mail from the golf club, as there was no local delivery service.
'THIRD WORLD CONDITIONS'
Sr Sánchez stressed that the Estepona golf course attracted many visitors and tourists to the area but they were met with a 'ghastly vision'. He said that the area suffers from a lack of basic infrastructure and has been forgotten by the authorities. He added: "We have third world conditions in the area between Guadalobón to Buenas Noches".
IMMIGRATION RING UNCOVERED IN MOROCCO
By David Eade
Police authorities in the North Moroccan port of Tangiers have seized 14 high speed 'zodiac' launches. Judicial sources in the city have stated that these launches were being used to smuggle illegal immigrants across the Straits of Gibraltar and land them on the beaches of Spain.
Moroccan gendarmes have also detained 59 people from various sub-Saharan African countries who were picked up in various areas of Tangiers. They have been accused of intending to emigrate illegally from Morocco to Spain. They will follow in the footsteps of another 1,232 sub-Saharans who have been returned by Morocco to their country of origin so far this year.
The Moroccan gendarmerie says that it believes that since January 10,000 people from the sub-Sahara have clandestinely crossed its border with Algeria with the intention of crossing the Straits of Gibraltar into Spain. If that figure is correct then it leaves more than 8,000 illegal immigrants as of yet unaccounted for.
The police action in Morocco against the mafias, which operate the illegal immigration trade, is considered to be a voluntary good will gesture towards Spain. The Spanish government has demanded the co-operation of Morocco in the fight against the illegal immigration networks.
Guardia Civil intercept 112 immigrants
The nautical division of the Guardia Civil recently intercepted 112 illegal immigrants who had crossed the Straits of Gibraltar in two pneumatic 'zodiac' style boats. The two boats were intercepted within seven hours of each other by the same Guardia Civil patrol boat. One was discovered to the south of Tarifa whilst the other was to the east.
Of the 112 illegal immigrants from the sub-Sahara on board, 21 were women. Three of the women were pregnant whilst another was carrying a young baby with her. After being landed in Tarifa, the pregnant women and the baby were taken to the health centre for medical attention. These two groups were the first to be detected off the Spanish coast since the police action in Tangiers.
FUENGIROLA OFFICIAL CENSUS CLIMBS
Increased funding to follow from new registration figures
By David Eade
THE RECENT CENSUS SHOWS THAT THE OFFICIAL POPULATION OF FUENGIROLA STANDS AT 53,000 PEOPLE.
The national institute of statistics (INE) has ratified this figure which means that the municipality can receive valuable additional investment and grants.
The money each municipality receives from central state funds grows as it climbs the population ladder. Fuengirola can now also receive additional European Union grants, which will mean the town's coffers will benefit from more euros per inhabitant.
Fuengirola's Mayoress, Esperanza Oña, said that she was very satisfied by the results of the new census. However, she also pointed out that there were many residents who had not officially registered with the Town Hall and whilst the municipality had to provide them with services it did not receive any funding for them.
FUNDING FOR TRANSPORT
The additional funding that Fuengirola will receive will be concentrated on three areas: infrastructure, transport and the social-cultural sector. Fuengirola councillor, Cristóbal Calvo, pointed out that 'the municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants receive state help for transport'.
MARBELLA'S BUS FARES DEAREST IN ANDALUCIA
By David Eade
The Portillo bus operating company has come under fire. The Partido Popular in Marbella has described the urban bus services operated by Portillo in Marbella as 'the most expensive in Andalucía'. It has demanded that Marbella Town Hall cancels Portillo's concession to operate this service and sets up a municipal transport company instead.
PP's candidate for Mayor of Marbella in next year's elections, Ángeles
Muñoz, denounced the 'serious deficiencies' of the service.
She claimed that the cost was not the only problem but also pointed
out the overall fare structure, timetable, the various installations
such as the San Pedro bus station and the geographical coverage
of the service.
The cost of an urban trip in Marbella is 0.90 euros. However, if people in the town want to travel within the municipality to Las Chapas they have to use the inter-urban system, which costs 0.94 euros. This compares with the cost of urban transport in Granada of 0.85 euros, Málaga and Córdoba 0.80 euros, Fuengirola 0.78 euros and Torremolinos of 0.65 euros.