Thursday, August 10, 2006

09.30: Galicia today starts its 8th day of fire devastation. According to the Voz de Galicia, there were 138 fires still burning last night and the really bad news is that they are now heading north along the Coast of Death towards La Coruña and Ferrol. The paper’s on line edition carries a dramatic photo of the fires threatening Muros, up on this coast. Ironically, the wind is blowing from the south west, whereas it’s strong gusts from the north west which have been a major factor over the last week of destruction. The paper also has three photo galleries [Álbumes] which give some idea of the damage.

These are the first four sad paragraphs of the article entitled Cien kilómetros de humo [A hundred kilometres of smoke] –

Victor Calvo, the pilot, makes a gesture of sadness with his head. It’s hardly been ten minutes since we took off from Alvedro [La Coruña] but, seen from the air, Galicia’s tragedy seems even greater. On the horizon, hundreds of fires - isolated and deliberate - are vomiting smoke into the air.

You get the feeling someone wanted to sow misery throughout this land and that they did it conscientiously, mathematically. Calibrating the right space between each epicentre so as to achieve the task of destroying everything. And you get the feeling they’re still doing it, for during this flight of three and a half hours we witnessed three new fires.

It hurts. It hurts to see life being extinguished in O Pindo or in the Ézaro reservoir. To confirm that Muros is being subjected to a siege, surrounded by flames, or to see the abject surrender to fire of mount Louro, devastated down to its last tree. It’s overwhelming to see a fire engine battling to stop the flames reaching a petrol station between Coristanco and Santa Comba. And the smoke which covers the Vigo estuary chokes you as it rises towards the plane bearing the stench of burning. And of death.

No comments: