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Formentera joins Amnesty International's push for state commitment on refugees

foto reunio amnistia internacionalFormentera Council president Jaume Ferrer, vice-president Susana Labrador and social welfare councillor Vanessa Parellada met today with Amnesty International's coordinator in the Balearics, Francisco Palacios, and another member of the group, Miguel Angel Romero. The Council took the occasion to show its support for the NGO's campaign urging Spanish state action on refugees.

According to an announcement from Councillor Parellada, at the administration's Friday, February 24 plenary session Gent per Formentera and the socialist party intend to present a statement making the case for facilitating the arrival of refugees and registering their deep concern for the situations of Syrians fleeing war in their country. In the document, the groups are expected to urge the Spanish government to remove obstacles facing asylum applicants and guarantee expedited response to their applications. Broadly, the declaration will call for measures which ensure proper resettlement conditions and émigrés' right to asylum are respected.

Formentera amb Siria
Parellada highlighted the events calendar for the upcoming “Formentera amb Siria” (“Formentera with Syria”) programme. The keynote event, a fundraising community paella, is scheduled to take place in sa Senieta car park in Sant Francesc. All money raised will go to support refugees through the non-profit group Progreso y Desarrollo Humano.

Going back to March 2015, the Formentera Council adopted a rejection of the UE-Turkey refugee deal on the grounds that, in the social welfare councillor's words, the agreement constitutes “an enormous breach of the legislation protecting refugees” and “a deterioration of the humanitarian crisis in course”. The aim of that declaration, said Parellada, was to urge the Spanish administration to take an active role within the European Commission in defence of international law and in protection of refugees.

Formentera Council turns ten

The president's office of the Formentera Council wishes to remind residents that this 2017 marks 10 years since the administration's creation. To commemorate the event, in addition to adding the words “10 years” to the CiF logo on official stationery and the CiF website from March 1, the administration is organising events around the most relevant dates, March 1 and July 10.

On March 1, 2007 the Statute of Autonomy of the Balearic Islands was published in the official bulletin of the Spanish state, creating the Formentera Council alongside the Eivissa Council. That differed from the region's 1983 statute, which recognised one single council for both the Pityusic islands. The second important date is July 10, 2007, forty-five days after the May 27 elections that established the Formentera Council.

Formentera fire brigade responded in 47 fires in 2016

Foto camió bombersIn an appraisal of the local firefighting crew’s work over the previous year made public today by the Formentera Council president’s office, department head Bartomeu Escandell saluted workers on a job well done and highlighted “twelve months without big wildfires”. In 2016 firefighters put out 47 fires, a figure that represented a year-on-year increase of twelve and reflected blazes that, on the whole, occurred in forested areas. In total, the fire crew was called into duty 136 times –nine more than in 2015– to fight back flames or oversee other interventions, including preventive work.

Espalmador fire
Councillor Escandell recalled a blaze that broke out last summer on the island of Espalmador as one of the year’s most dangerous. He said that wildfire’s quick taming was “thanks to the rapid response of local firefighters, regional forest crews (Ibanat) and other volunteers”. Formentera’s fire brigade, a six-person team, has got two pick-up trucks and two water pumps on hand. Escandell also pointed out the administration’s recent acquisition of an additional rapid response vehicle aimed at promoting even swifter action and more efficient wildfire prevention.

Escandell underscored the importance of help from Ibanat, Formentera’s civil protection force, Guardia Civil and the local police in addition to assistance from volunteers and water delivery firms that made use of their equipment available to firefighters as necessary. The Formentera Council sponsors wildfire risk awareness outreach in an effort to show, in Escandell’s words, “that even little steps –not tossing cigarette ends out windows, for example– can be effective in preventing tragedies in the Balearics”.

Formentera to christen new plenary hall

foto consell premsaIn accordance with a proposal unanimously adopted during plenary debate on the state of the island last year, the president's office of the Formentera Council has announced that the administration no longer hold plenary sessions in the hall used heretofore and located in the Council's central offices at Sant Francesc's plaça de la Constitució. Instead, forthcoming meetings will take place in the so-called Màgic Box, next to the Formentera Day Centre.

Updates in access and IT
The change is associated with several improvements, like wheelchair-accessibility and three reduced-mobility parking spaces  at the adjacent car park. Capacity at the new hall is for some 60 audience members.

There are also technical improvements associated with the location swap. In addition to a recording system allowing video and audio of proceedings at the Màgic Box, members of the press will have access to IT and electricity plugs.

Likewise, new furniture will provide personal network connections and power plugs for the administration's 17 councillors and one member of parliament. Individual microphones will also be included at each official's seat for debate sessions.

Work at the site is already under way and it is projected that the first plenary of 2017 will be held there. The project has a cost of approximately 55,000 euros.

New vehicle promises to help CiF firefirefighters cut response times

Foto presentació pick upThe president's office of the Formentera Council (CiF) has recently added a pickup truck to the local fire brigade's fleet of motor vehicles. Department head Bartomeu Escandell and brigade chief Iván Marí spoke about the rapid response machine in a presentation that took place this morning in plaça de la Constitució.

Escandell projected the new acquisition would shorten response times and provide increased accessibility in emergency situations, a factor that is especially significant since hard to reach locations abound on the island. The truck was purchased for fifty thousand euros. The fire brigade's fleet includes two fire engines with mounted water pumps and one additional rapid response vehicle.

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