December rains caused damages of €175M in Lisbon, Portalegre, Faro

  • Lusa
  • 6 January 2023

Among the cities whose surveys are already known, Lisbon reported total losses of €49 million, the highest single figure.

The heavy rains in December in Portugal caused damages of at least €175 million in the districts of Lisbon, Portalegre and Faro, according to final or provisional calculations of the resulting costs, presented by 21 municipalities.

In the week between 7 and 14 December, several districts in mainland Portugal suffered flooding in homes and on public roads, as well as landslides and falling trees, as a result of bad weather. In many places, this led to the temporary closure of many roads, constraints on public transport and business establishments shutting their doors due to damage.

A few days earlier, the heavy rains that fell in the Algarve on 5 December, causing flooding in various areas, had caused more than €2 million in damage in the city of Faro, according to Rogério Bacalhau, the mayor of that municipality, which was the one most affected by the rains in the region, in comments to Lusa at Christmas time.

According to Bacalhau, damage to municipal infrastructures – the city hall building, schools, library, the municipal market, public spaces and municipal swimming pools – resulted in losses of between €900,000 and €1 million. Similar losses were sustained by shopkeepers in São Luís, the part of the town that was worst affected, and there was also private damage, including to vehicles, of €200,000,

Between 7 and 15 December, civil defence officials registered in mainland Portugal more than 7,950 occurrences – mostly flooding – and 88 people in need of rehousing.

Government officials have visited some affected places and have asked for surveys of the damage by 15 January at the latest, to streamline the mechanisms for the support that has been repeatedly requested by local authorities, with special funds to help for families and businesses.

Among the cities whose surveys are already known, Lisbon reported total losses of €49 million, the highest single figure.

The mayor of Lisbon, Carlos Moedas, on Thursday explained that €34 million or 70% of the total corresponds to damage to equipment and public infrastructure and the rest, €15 million, to damage to economic activities, trade and services, and private homes.

Of this latter amount, €3.8 million were in housing and €11.2 million in business.

In the neighbouring municipality of Loures, the value of the damages reported to the Commission for Coordination and Regional Development of Lisbon and Tagus Valley (CCDR-LVT) was €32 million. According to information from the council sent to Lusa, the greatest damage was recorded in municipal infrastructure (€22 million), followed by economic activities (€7 million euros for 124 companies), municipal equipment (€3 million euros) and housing (€140,000).

Still in Lisbon district, Oeiras this week provided Lusa with an update that raises the estimate of damages to €19 million, but with damage to private homes yet to be accounted for. Damages of €9.7 million are estimated in municipal infrastructures (walls, roads and public roads), followed by economic activities (€5.2 million), municipal equipment (€3.7 million) and the Algés health centre (€500,000).

In Cascais, around €18.2 million of damage were reported by the municipality to the CCDR-LVT, according to a local authority source. The greatest damage was to municipal infrastructure (€17.4 million), followed by economic activities (€716,000) and municipal equipment (€69,000).

In Odivelas, the estimate cited to Lusa last month by the local mayor, Hugo Martins, pointed to more than €6 million in damages.

Amadora, meanwhile, has already sent the CCDR-LVT a balance sheet of about €2 million relating solely and exclusively to municipal infrastructure, as an official council source indicated on Thursday.

Also in late 2022, the president of the Intermunicipal Community of the Upper Alentejo, Hugo Hilário, reported an estimate of at least €47 million for the damage in the district of Portalegre, but still without including figures for roads managed by the national state entity Infraestruturas de Portugal and in the agricultural sector; the figures only cover housing, economic activities, equipment and municipal infrastructure.

Of the 15 municipalities in Portalegre district, only Alter do Chão reported no damages. The municipality of Fronteira was the one with the highest estimated damage, at around €14 million.