Catastrophic zone: preliminary damage assessments of Tenerife wildfire finalised

Anticipating that Madrid will designate the Tenerife area as catastrophic zone, the estimated cost for infrastructure repair and forest restoration alone stands at €80.4 million.

Rosa Dávila, President of the Island Council, highlighted yesterday the central Government’s pledge to designate the 14,700 hectares affected by the fire, which ignited on 15 August in Arafo and spread to various other localities, as a catastrophic area.

The decision to approve this catastrophic area status—more formally, an area severely impacted by a civil protection emergency—had previously been indicated in Arafo on the 21st by the acting President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez. Specifically, during his visit to the island, he mentioned that the Council of Ministers would give its approval once the fire was under control. “The Spanish Government,” Sánchez emphasised, “will engage in the reconstruction, recovery, and stabilisation of the daily lives of those affected.”

In a related development, Margarita Robles, the Minister of Defence, was also on the island yesterday. Assessing the damages caused by the wildfire, she lauded the efforts of the Military Emergency Unit (UME) as well as personnel from other public administrations, such as the Canary Islands Government and the Island Council of Tenerife.

Catastrophic zone: preliminary damage assessments of Tenerife wildfire finalised.

Speaking alongside Councillors José Miguel Ruano (Presidency) and Valentín González (Primary Sector and Animal Welfare), Rosa Dávila noted that the Government Delegation in the Canary Islands has requested initial damage estimates from the Island Council and the local councils of the 12 municipalities impacted by the disaster.

According to preliminary calculations, the Island Council is handling a figure of €80.4 million. This amount is provisional and solely pertains to infrastructure under the jurisdiction of the insular Corporation, the cost of regenerating the damaged forests, and the Teide National Park. For a more accurate estimate, it will be necessary to wait until the fire—currently at severity level 1, with the Island Council leading the extinguishing operations—is completely under control.

So what does a designation as an area severely affected by a civil protection emergency entail? Broadly speaking, it involves the central Government adopting extraordinary measures to repair both material and personal damages resulting from a large-scale emergency. Ultimately, the goal is to facilitate the return to normalcy for the affected population as quickly and comprehensively as possible.

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