E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez


Gran Canaria – The Beginning of a New Dawn

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This is probably one of the very last weblog posts that I would be creating where I would be massively linking to a number of different stories that keep popping up both from within the traditional media as well as within the Spanish Gofiosfera on the recent tragic events where one third of the entire wooded area from the island of Gran Canaria is now gone after the fires have all been under control. And a similar situation, thank goodness, is starting to emerge in Tenerife.

There was a reason why I was linking to a number of different resources, more than anything else, it was all due to the fact that I wanted to share some of the grief that most of us is going through at the moment. That painful experience of seeing how one good chunk of you is taken away just like that in a matter of hours and without any further questions.

Back at the beginning, when I was first writing the initial blog post from this series I mentioned how it hurt, how painful it surely was to witness that tragedy taking place and myself not been able to do much on the subject. Now a few days have passed by and still feel the same, like something that I was part of was taken away from me very abruptly. For good.

In one of my twitterings earlier on today, I realised that most of the pictures from the collage that I have for my Twitter background are actually from several of the different places that are now completely devastated by the fires. Yet, there they are, as impressive and stunning as ever and with a strong message that at one point in time they will be back! Just like in the good old times, but better. Way better! I am not sure if I would be here still that long, but if I am, you bet that I am going to enjoy the time quite a bit where I will be capturing those precious little moments that will remind me of what it all once was and where we have moved on to: onwards!

Because there is no other way to go. Now more than ever we need to move on, we need to learn from our past mistakes, we need to ensure that events like this one would never happen, at least, at a similar scale, of what we have witnessed since Friday last week. I, for one, would be incredibly excited about when that time would come, because I know it will be coming back again, and at that point I would be as much proud as I used to be (Still am very much so, in case you are wondering!) of one of the places that accepted me back three years ago, with no questions asked, like if it was the prodigal son coming back home. Finally! I never left home. I know now. Perhaps too late. The beginning of a new dawn starts now! Want to join me?…

Oh, and before I let you go, I can certainly recommend checking out the index of YouTube videos that various different people have put together that CanariasBruta has been able to collect thus far. And also watch the following one as reported by mainstream media (In Spanish):

And here you have got a couple of pictures that different folks have been taking thus far:

Courtesy of Canarias7:

Courtesy of tonyatlantico:

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Gran Canaria Fires – Now Officially under Control! Finally!

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I know that over the last few days I have been sharing a number of different weblog posts that do not have much to do with the main topics that I get to discuss over here, but I hope you can understand what we are all going through over here. Catastrophes of this proportion should not, must not, be forgotten. So, today, nearly six days after the fires started in Gran Canaria, I am very happy to share with you all, just in case you may have missed it, that the fires in Gran Canaria are now officially “under control”, according to several news items.

The one in Tenerife is still being stabilised and the one in La Gomera is now also extinguished. It has not been a pretty sight all along for the last few days, having over 35,000 hectares of woodland (Pine trees, mainly) being wiped out between Gran Canaria and Tenerife (Around 20,000 in Gran Canaria alone, one third of the total woodland area from the island!). Yes, I know, the proportions of the disaster are just tragic, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, the horizon is starting to look closer and closer than ever before. And I am very happy to see that. About time, too!

Yes, we all know that things would never be the same. They just won’t, but life goes on and the sooner we recover, the better. I am sure that in the next few days a whole bunch of conversations, discussions, analysis of the situation and whatever else would be put together (I may be able to share some thoughts on those at a later time), but in this weblog post I just wanted to share with you as well some of the magnitude of the disaster at the same time that I would place a whole bunch of links in here around what the international press and media are saying about the last few days.

You would have to remember that the Canary Islands are a very popular holiday destination with over 12 million visitors per year approx. so it is of no surprise the extensive coverage that the fires have been given all over the place, considering that very soon plenty of those tourists may be heading back here again to spend their vacation, specially during the winter time.

It surely is very nice to know that plenty of people out there are thinking about these tragic events and are wishing us all getting back on track soon, including nature doing what it knows best, so for all of that I would want to give a special thanks! for being there and for the support. It is greatly appreciated, to say the least!

So let’s have a look at the international press coverage of the events:

Irish Times, Innovations Report (Germany), Vakantie.PaginaBlog (Netherlands), Trouw (Netherlands), Fok (Netherlands), Handelsblatt (Germany), derStandard (Austria), Die Zeit (Germany), Aftonbladet (Sweden), Aftonbladet (Sweden), Corriere della Sera (Italy), Alice Notizie (Italy), Corriere della Sera (Italy), Le Monde (France), Le Figaro (France), France24 (France), The Times Online (UK), Faz (Germany), IlMessaggero (Italy), Diario de Noticias (Protugal), Bild (Germany).

As you can see from the above links, quite a bit, actually. In the mean time, the blogosphere keeps coming up with more and more updates, some of them with some incredible video footage as well!In this particular link from Canarias7 you would be able to check out some of the different pictures that have been taken over the course of the days that relate to some of the kind of impact this tragic set of events will have on the islands. Just below I have shared a couple of them, courtesy from Canarias7, while I am awaiting for more to come through the Flickr group.

So, the good thing is that fires in Gran Canaria are now officially under control, there would be lots and lots of work that would need to be done, but, at least, we are finally starting to see the light. And that is good news. Now off to the next challenge: bring the entire island to what it once was. A paradise!

(Still is…)

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Gran Canaria Fires – Almost There! Almost under Control…

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And while the reactions and different news items keep showing up all over the place with folks sharing their thoughts on this tragic set of events, it looks like things are starting to become normalised, to a certain degree, that is, because we cannot say just yet that everything is under control. Not yet. The struggle continues. The fight is there, active, more than ever, to try to put an end to it all. And we are getting there, for sure. Slowly, but steadily. Hopefully, one more day. Just one more day. Tomorrow. Fingers crossed. Best of luck to us all.

Weather conditions have improved quite a bit with temperatures around the 30 degrees Celcius and with hardly any wind, at least, from this side of the island. Definitely, not as windy as in the last couple of days. So there is plenty of hope that everything would be back to normal soon, if we could say that because I doubt things would ever be the same again. Not after watching this catastrophe for over 5 days now.

The first evaluations, editorials, extensive opinions and reviews, reservations, etc. etc. are starting to flourish now, and perhaps I will talk about them some more later on, but I just thought I would leave you for the day with something that I have found incredibly amazing and a life-changing experience, for sure.

Check out the impressive Flickr set of pictures that tonyatlantico has been putting together, where he has been covering what Ayagaures looks like after the fire. A place which is just about 20 minutes by car from where I live. Then also take a look at a couple of pictures I took from the same place some time ago in all its splendour.

All I can say at this moment is that it still hurts… and quite a lot!

(Oh, and don’t forget you can keep up with what the Spanish Gofiosfera is thinking about over at Planeta Canarias)

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Sin Cabeza (Headless)

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Hacía ya tiempo que no había creado ningún artículo en español en ninguno de los blogs que llevo manteniendo durante varios meses, y creo que ya va siendo hora de que vuelva a escribir alguno que otro artículo y así poder llegar un poco más a la blogosfera hispana que últimamente la tengo un poco abandonada.

Y me alegro de que me re-encuentre con la blogosfera hispana haciendo referencia a una viñeta que el gran, e insuperable, J.R. Mora (JRMora) compartió no hace muchas horas con motivo de los diferentes desastres ecológicos que se están dando tanto en Tenerife como en Gran Canaria y que expresa muy, pero que muy bien, algunos de los mixed feelings por los que he ido pasando durante los últimos días.

No tiene desperdicio y desgraciadamente no será la última vez. ¿Hasta cuándo?

Aquí tenéis la viñeta en sí:

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Gran Canaria and Tenerife Disasters and Some Mixed Feelings

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While the news items keep popping up on what has been named as Gran Canaria‘s worst ecological disaster in recent history, we can already start seeing some folks coming out of the places where they have been hiding for a while, looking for those who should be responsible for such tragic set of events. Yes, that is right, while we are starting to witness some of the political games coming from various fronts, all of them blaming someone else, probably like it usually happens in these cases (Blame your neighbour, it’s easier), the fires are still blazing away while we all hope that the high temperatures and the strong winds would give everyone a break to finish off the job.

Over the course of the last few hours, there have been a number of different webloggers commenting further on what is actually happening out there and I just thought I would share a few links in here to give you a sense of some of the mixed feelings that we are all going through these tough times:

Canarias está ardiendo
Arde Gran Canaria (5)
Hace fuego
El incendio de Canarias en la red
Incendio en Canarias: el fuego arrasa reservas de la biosfera
Arde Canarias
Fuego arrasa 65 por ciento superficie “Palmitos Park” y afecta a 60 por ciente animales y plantas
— Special Canariasbruta coverage
Mi isla se quema

I have been sharing a few pictures already over here on what is going on at the moment, but I would strongly encourage you to have a look and check this weblog post, Pictures, from Isle of Gran Canaria, to see the kind of impact that this disaster is having.

And, like you would not have expected otherwise, the first video clips from YouTube are starting to emerge. So instead of sharing some more additional pictures I am just going to embed some of the dramatic clips put together thus far:

Finally, here is a detailed description of the events as they are happening and courtesy from Canarias7. And thank goodness, it looks like things are starting to improve a bit as mentioned in Gran Canaria tiene “estabilizados” todos los focos tras 100 horas de incendio, pero desconfía de las cambios de viento. Although, still on guard, of course.

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Dramatic Weekend in Gran Canaria … and Now Tenerife, Too! – Part II

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And while several different fires continue to spread around the South-West of the island of Gran Canaria (With one soldier injured at the moment) and while there are more and more news items coming through just as horrifying as the previous ones, things are getting a whole lot worse now with another massive fire spreading around like mad in Tenerife, the other major island from the Canary Islands.

So far here in Gran Canaria 10,000 hectares have burned with 5,200 people evacuated, whereas in Tenerife it is already going for 13,695 hectares and 4,200 people on the move. An unprecedented catastrophe for all of the Canary Islands and Spain, no doubt! From here onwards, here is a positive message going out to everyone affected to let you all know: we will get things back again in shape soon, we have to, we don’t have a choice, we will:

[…] sólo os puedo decir que no olvidéis ni permitáis que os hagan olvidar.” (Comment in Spanish from a weblog post shared in Mangas Verdes by Dani)

Here are some more pictures from the catastrophe thus far:

Courtesy from Pablo César, a.k.a. pcesarperez / AdAstra

Courtesy from artevirgo (Impressive set of pictures):

Courtesy from Víctor, a.k.a. rvr:

And perhaps one of the most impressive, courtesy from GrJMontero (For a more recent one from both Gran Canaria and Tenerife click here):

PS. There is also a Flickr group: Incendio Gran Canaria – Julio 2007, where we can share the pictures we have taken about the fires. Feel free to add yours as time goes by.

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