Roofs and doors ripped off of houses by the wind, collapsed walls, downed trees and fallen electricity poles: this is the scenario left behind by Hurricane Fred in Povoação Velha, the area on the island of Boa Vista most affected by the storm. Fifty of the approximately 70 houses in the village were damaged, as were practically all of its public buildings – the elementary school, the kindergarten, the youth center, the church and the sports complex.
Damage is significant and there is much work to be done, according to the president of the Varandinha Association, Henrique Cruz, who says the local municipal chamber should already have restored electrical power to the district. Povoação Velha is currently cut off from the rest of the country. “There’s no electricity or mobile phone services,” he complains, blaming those who have failed to give due priority to this critical situation.
Another priority in Cruz’s view is the repair of the local elementary school, which was “seriously” damaged. As far as the reconstruction of homes is concerned, Cruz says that residents have already begun making their own repairs, but warns that families will need assistance to resolve the situation and be able to move beyond “scraping by,” as they have for the past several days. In order for this panorama to change, Cruz hopes for a meeting to take place between the Boa Vista municipal chamber and the central government.
Damage in the city of Sal Rei, meanwhile, was considerable, especially in the neighborhood of Boa Esperança (also known as Barraca), where most of the houses are precariously built. In the town of Rabil, damage was also heavy, while districts such as Bofareira and Norte were less seriously affected.
Boa Vista municipal councilman Abel Ramos, meanwhile, assured A Semana Online that a team has already been deployed to restore the village’s connection to the island’s main electrical grid, and that Povoação Velha will have electricity once again in a matter of days.