The figures regarding the departure of the population of São Jorge were revealed by the president of the Regional Government at a press conference, after a meeting with the mayor of Velas, Luís Silveira, and with the president of the Information and Surveillance Centre of the Azores (CIVISA), Rui Marques.
José Manuel Bolieiro added that the bad weather on the island did not cancel any air and sea connections and there are no “cancellation forecasts”.
“We are very familiar with our atmospheric conditions and with our outermost conditions. However, we cannot ignore the possibility that these conditions may suddenly change," he said.
According to data from the 2021 Census, the island of São Jorge has 8,373 inhabitants, of which 4,936 are in the municipality of Velas and 3,437 in the municipality of Calheta.
Also, José Manuel Bolieiro, said on Friday that there is "no reason" to change São Jorge's volcanic alert, which is at level V4 (out of five), due to the seismovulcanic crisis on the island.
"There is no reason to change the seismovulcanic alert from V4," said the leader of the Azorean executive, speaking on the island of São Jorge, at a press conference after a meeting with the mayor of Velas, Luís Silveira, and with the president of the Seismovulcanic Monitoring and Information Centre of the Azores (CIVISA), Rui Marques.
The leader of the regional government added that "planning" in case of a possible earthquake of greater magnitude or an eruption is taking place with "maximum proficiency" and announced a "reinforcement of resources" for the island in the area of health, consisting of four doctors, five nurses and a psychologist.
The strengthening of the medical staff aims to "temporarily ensure" that Calheta health centre operates "24 hours without interruption".
The president of the regional government insisted that "there is no declaration of evacuation" of the municipality of Velas, with the "exception" of the withdrawal of people with reduced mobility and the inhabitants of the fajãs (agricultural land on the coast).
The Mayor of Velas, Luís Silveira, also stressed that the eventual evacuation of the entire municipality is "prepared". The municipality added that the "evacuation alert will be broadcast through local radio, social networks and also through the bells of the churches".
In addition, CIVISA revealed today that, in recent hours, five earthquakes have been felt by the population of São Jorge island, adding that seismic activity remains "above normal".