David Thomas President of Safe Communities Portugal stated “that the decision was taken following our participation in the recent International Wildfire Conference in Porto attended by 1600 experts from overseas and more recently a meeting between Safe Communities and the President of the National Authority for Civil Protection (ANEPC)”

He added, “It is clear that climate change drives disaster risk and as such we need to respond”. “Awareness” and “preparation” are the key words as without understanding the risks we cannot not be prepared and therefore take the right measures to protect ourselves, family, and property from such disasters.

The new group has got off to a good start with over 220 people joining in the first two days.

Given the emphasis placed globally, including Portugal, on Climate change and disaster management, we feel that a dedicated Facebook group should be formed to help those who have properties in Portugal or just visiting, by providing a “focal point” of knowledge and advice with links to various experts and qualified sources, which is easy to access, as well as opportunities for group members to share with others their own experiences.

The groups aim is to provide a forum on the topic of natural disasters, such as wildfires, drought, damage caused by extreme weather events such as flooding, as well as earthquakes and tsunamis and how they affect the lives of people in, or visiting, Portugal.

Portugal is suffering from the effects of climate change, with fires occurring over longer periods (rather than mainly in the summer), burning with higher intensity and sometimes lasting over several days or more. This scenario, exacerbated by drought conditions, will continue in the future and is forecast to worsen, with heatwaves becoming more frequent and severe - so we need to be prepared for this.

Therefore, it is important to understand the risks and measures that can be implemented. Examples include: how to reduce the risks and potential impact, by being prepared; knowledge on ways to protect ourselves, family and our property as well as actions to take during disasters and in the aftermath of such events.

We hope that we can go a long way in achieving this and we invite you to participate in becoming a member of this unique group here in Portugal. The Group is: “Safe Communities Portugal Protection against Natural Disasters”. https://www.facebook.com/groups/safecommunitiesportugalprotectionnaturaldisasters

We thank admins from various Facebook community groups in Portugal for supporting this initiative and promoting it among their followers.

David Thomas President

Safe Communities Portugal