First Update

Dear members of the SOS Volunteers Andalucia Group,

It has been a very busy 48hours for all of us, everyone has been doing an incredible job working as a team and helping each other to complete this post-catastrophic recovery puzzle.

So many heroic stories to be told and shared, so many gold-hearted volunteers to applaud. Marbella and the Coast should be extremely proud of itself in the way it turned this tragedy into the triumph for its residents and communities.

So here are the 3 main things we´d like to share today are:

1. Our new website: www.sosandalucia.com – please visit it for updates and also to add your stories, comments, needs etc.
2. Fire Aid Concert which will take place on 10th sept 2012 at the Puente Romano hotel. Please contact maurice@italk.fm to get more information and tickets. More info to be announced shortly.,
3. Please see below a summary of what has been agreed and coordinated with the Marbella authorities and spread the word, especially regarding the Coordination Centre in Las Chapas:

Notes from the Meeting 02/09/2012 between José Luis Hernandez, Marbella Councillor for Tourism and Head of the International Residents department and Marina Nitzak, representing “SOS Volunteers Andalucia” group of volunteers.
Summary

General:
1. José Luis (“JLH”) expressed deepest gratitude and appreciation on behalf of Marbella Town Hall for the Group´s members´ initiative, enthusiasm, efforts and generosity.
2. JLH recognised SOS Volunteers Andalucia group as the leading organization of its kind representing primarily international community of volunteers and, therefore, it has been chosen as the platform for communication and collaboration with the expat volunteers
3. It has been agreed to develop the relationship between the group and the Marbella Town Hall via its International Residents Dept – not just for this tragedy but also as a close long term collaboration for community integration and as the basis, infrastructure and process for any other possible future incidents (touch wood!!)
4. Spanish Government is currently reviewing the possibility of declaring this tragedy and all of the region affected as a zone of CATASTROPHE. If this is approved during the next Friday´s Governmental meeting, it will benefit from the special fund of up to €71 million and eligible for additional EU funding. This funding would be used both for humanitarian needs, such as reconstruction of private housing, and environmental reforestation and infrastructural projects.
5. Fire extinguishing efforts are still in action – although the fires have now been put out, the “life” of a fire is 5 days – which means that the troops are currently working on refreshing and hydrating the land to ensure the fires don´t reignited with winds over the next few days.
6. All efforts until now have been focused on putting out and controlling the fires, from tomorrow onwards the Town Halls will be focused on the post-fire projects and will be communicating the rehabilitation and recovery programs and plans shortly.
7. It is proposed that the group also builds a relationship and collaboration with Marbella Solidaria, an established association that has also been key in volunteer efforts throughout the tragedy. They have a lot of readily available infrastructure that could be taken advantage of by the group and vs versa.
8. JLH and his International Residents’ team are available by email on extranjeros@marbella.es. They’re also available for comment for any press.
9. www.sosandalucia.com, set up by the group, is fully supported by JLH and Town Hall and will be contacted and communicated to with all relevant updates and information.
10. The shared document will continue being the point of reference for volunteers and those requiring the resources alike.
The contacts provided on this will be contacted by the Coordination Centre with all relevant needs and updates.

Official Marbella Coordination Centre:
1. As of tomorrow (03/09), the official Coordination Centre for all those affected by the fires in Marbella area will be open to public at the Las Chapas Mayor offices (Pinsapo/Elviria 29604). It will coordinate all volunteer efforts, legal assessment, reconstruction projects etc. Within this Centre, there´s a specific (bilingual) section for the International Residents that will be managing volunteer efforts and aid as well as those affected. ALL that have been affected by the fires should be directed to this centre in order to be registered and assisted. The Legal assistance will include helping those affected to apply for any eligible subsidies and funding as above. Please contact: afectadosincendio@marbella.es. All emails in English will be directly forwarded to the International residents section at the centre.
2. The above Coordination Centre will have access to the group´s Volunteer spreadsheet with all the contact information and will get in touch with everyone on the list, advising them and updating them on all and any tasks and needs associated with the fires.
3. In addition, the Coordination Centre will advise the group´s admin of any such tasks and needs so that the group can create Events in its Facebook forum and publish its details for anyone interested in joining

Monetary donations – IMPORTANT!!!
1. Tomorrow (03/09) JLH will communicate the officially selected and approved points of fundraising with its relevant bank account details. PLEASE be very careful and avoid donating to any cause, account or organisation that hasn´t been officially approved by the Town Halls. Any such cause or organisation could contact the Town Hall if it wishes to be considered for this list. It will be divided into ecological and humanitarian causes so that those wishing to donate can select where they wish their contribution to be donated.
Coordination between the 6 affected municipal regions
1.JLH will be communicating with the Town Halls of these tomorrow (03/09) in order to coordinate with them all the relevant information regarding houses and families affected by the fires. These municipal regions are:
a. Marbella

b. Alhaurin

c. Coin

d. Mijas

e. Monda

f. Ojen

2.Official data regarding these numbers and also contacts and needs of these families will be issued by JLH as soon as these are available. All the contact and needs information will also be centrally channelled through the Coordination Centre.
3. JLH will also call upon these municipals and their key representatives to join them in supporting the Fire Aid Concert planned by italk radio and Maurice Boland on 10/09/2012.