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Three Kings’ 5 January visit to Formentera: no stops and Covid-safe

cartell 2020 reis magsThe Formentera Culture Department and the Three Kings Association report that the Three Wise Men of the East have confirmed plans to visit the island on 5 January, tailoring the “cavalcada” to facilitate full compliance with public health protocol.

Scheduled route
Setting out from La Mola lighthouse at 4.00pm, the Magi will continue on a tour of Formentera towns along PM 820-2, forgoing traditional stops in order to ensure respect for hygiene and safety rules in place. The cavalcade’s estimated passage in El Pilar de la Mola (and along the stretch of highway known as avinguda de la Mola) is 4.15pm. Next the cortege cuts through Es Caló de Sant Agustí approximately 15 minutes later, reaching Sant Ferran de ses Roques (where the highway becomes carrer Joan Castelló Guasch) at roughly 4.45pm. Immediately afterward the procession will enter the roundabout and turn onto carrer Universitat toward Es Pujols. The parade will stop just short of town, turning onto the ring road (carrer Barcelona) at about 5.00pm, and carrying on along PM 820-2 until La Savina. There, the Magi will descend avinguda de la Mediterrània, then carrer s’Almadrava and at last avinguda de la Mediterrània again, leaving town at roughly 5.15pm. The procession will mount PM 820-2 towards Sant Francesc and enter town at 5.30pm via carrer Pla del Rei, staying on the Es Cap highway until reaching the municipal football pitch roughly 15 minutes later. The final leg of the route will see processionists advance on the Sant Frances ring road, carrer de sa Tanca Vella, with the estimated conclusion of the cavalcade’s run at 6.00pm.

The Consell de Formentera has printed a map of the parade route for revellers. Organisers hope to discourage islanders from crowding at greeting points, recommending instead that children catch the procession from whichever spot along the Kings’ route is closest to home. Due to the epidemiological situation, the Consell is urging islanders to limit groups to children and parents or guardians — or namely, stable family units. Acutely vulnerable individuals and adults not accompanying children are encouraged not to stop along the procession route so that children can enjoy the event with the highest possible level of safety.

Since crowds are expected to be particularly large in Sant Francesc and Sant Ferran, additional Consell staff will be deployed to these areas to ensure compliance with capacity limitations and safe two-metre distancing between separate family units. Masks must be worn at all times.

Culture and festivities councillor Susana Labrador highlighted the effort that has gone into ensuring local youngsters could continue to enjoy the magic of the Three Wise Men of the East amid scarcely typical circumstances. She also asked all islanders to eschew crowds and social contact with people outside their stable bubble. “We’re asking all of Formentera to be responsible. Whether in a town or on the roadside, take children only as far from home as necessary to see the cavalcade. Respect safe distancing and other public health protocol. If we do these things, we’ll be able to enjoy Their Majesties’ visit without endangering our own health or that of our neighbour.” Labrador praised Three Kings Association’s hard work and dedication in making the cavalcade’s historic visit a reality once again.

The Magi’s visit may be canceled if the epidemiological situation requires.

2 January 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

ITV closes out 2020 with waiting list of zero and nearly 6K vehicles inspected

foto 2020 ITVEven after the Covid-19 public health crisis forced the island’s roadworthiness test centre (ITV), a service of the Consell de Formentera, to close from mid-March to 11 May, the centre will cap the year with a waiting list of zero.

Between twenty and thirty drivers waited for appointments as 2020 began, and when the ITV reopened in May arrangements had to be made to inspect the nearly 350 rental cars whose original testing dates had overlapped with the closure. Inspection services councillor Antonio J. Sanz said applause for ITV personnel was in order in view of the “extremely complicated year” and called recruitment of a third mechanic and reorganisation of work “essential” to successfully shaving the list of local drivers awaiting appointments down to zero and improving customer service. Sanz pointed out that the waiting list has stood at zero since September, and he underscored plans in 2021 to incorporate new equipment in order to further improve service.

At 1,542 inspections, July was the service’s busiest month, while 28 September was its busiest single day, with staff logging a total of 108 inspections. All told, nearly six thousand vehicles have been tested in the last twelve months.

The Formentera ITV employs three mechanics and two administrative assistants. The service is open Monday to Friday from 7.30am to 2.00pm, and this year afternoon appointments on Thursdays were added as well. The centre remains open until 8.30pm on those days.

To request an appointment for a vehicle roadworthiness test, call 971 32 31 30 or send an email to itv@conselldeformentera.cat.

31 December 2020
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Firefighting brigade takes stock at year’s end

foto 2020 bombers 2The Formentera Fire Department rendered services 163 times in 2020 — a fifty-point year-on-year dip which corresponded to a comparative drop in activities dedicated to prevention. If in 2020 preventive operations accounted for 93 of the brigade’s total interventions, the state of emergency meant that, over the last 12 months, prevention was key to just 43.

Interior councillor Josep Marí said the unusual conjuncture forced firefighters to not only cancel scheduled talks with summer camp kids, but put participation in Consell-organised events and other prevention-oriented activities on hold as well. Marí trumpeted the crew’s “special dedication”, calling it a symbol of “the essential nature of the service they’ve provided during this year in which the pandemic figured so prominently”.

While the fire department sprang into action 35 different times in 2020 (four more than one year ago), forests and farmland made up just one hectare of flame-scorched land (in 2019 the figure was 5.3ha).

This year firefighters logged 23 lifesaving and rescue operations (up six from 2019), 19 false alarms (up one) and 43 instances where technical assistance was necessary (down eight).

New vehicle
The Consell de Formentera paid €38,148 for a Ford Transit van that was added to the fleet of the fire department and civil protection service. The vehicle will be used to transport personnel and material (provisions for operations, flood response and rescue equipment...) when necessary.

30 December 2020
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Sant Francesc cemetery included in 2021-2022 graves plan

foto 2020 pla fosses A first dig at the new Sant Francesc Xavier cemetery is programmed as part of the Balearic government’s 2021-2022 Civil War Graves Action Plan — a plan approved 19 November by the regional technical commission on graves and disappeared persons, of which the Eivissa-Formentera Forum for Memory is a member. Local application of the CWGAP was at the centre of a presentation today by the island’s heritage chief, Raquel Guasch, and regional secretary of democratic heritage and good governance Jesús Jurado. The gathering also saw the attendance of Consell de Formentera deputy chair Ana Juan and historian Antoni Ferrer.

The potential number of victims and area of disinterment mean efforts at the new Sant Francesc cemetery are among the most sizeable of those currently envisioned. The plans were added to the third programme of exhumations after research by Antoni Ferrer determined 58 deaths had occurred between 1941 and 1942 at the local prison and highlighted three zones of the Sant Francesc cemetery where victims’ remains may lie.

Based on research and witness accounts, Ferrer’s report describes inhumane conditions at the insalubrious and overcrowded Formentera camp, where lack of food was widespread and frequently gave way to death by starvation.

Ferrer used previously overlooked documentary sources to calculate the exact number of deaths at the Formentera prison. Where peers had relied on archives from the civil registry and death records in the Sant Francesc Xavier parish, Ferrer enlisted the Consell de Formentera’s own files from the administrative office of the courts and local census documents, ultimately corroborating the deaths of 58 individuals.

Councillor Guasch praised the Balearic government for its “clear efforts to recover this chapter of our history and restore the dignity of victims”, adding that to do so was “a matter of basic importance if we aspire to be an advanced, civilised society and to heal long open wounds”. She also applauded the historical research of Mr Ferrer. The councillor asserted a similar undertaking was in order at the former prison, where it would be necessary to “restore dignity to the site and come to terms with this chapter of our past”.

Burial site
Ferrer explains that the new municipal cemetery’s 1940 opening came just months before the first documented death at the Formentera prison in April the following year. If direct accounts of prisoner burials remain elusive, Ferrer did uncover two corresponding secondary accounts pointing to two quadrants in the western part of the cemetery which were completed in 1938. Based on the documents consulted, Ferrer concludes that Catholic rites were observed for the burials, but says the historical record doesn’t permit knowledge of whether the graves were marked.

New details about the deceased aren’t the study’s only novelty: transcripts of the local census and processing data have made it possible for Ferrer to substantiate the presence of approximately 1,500 prisoners at the local prison.

Recent digs
Seventeen graves have been excavated across the Balearic Islands since 2014. Following efforts in Sant Joan (2014), Porreres (2016, 2020) and Sant Ferran (Formentera, 2017), the 2018 action plan dictated excavations at Alaró, Marratxí, Sencelles, Calvià, Ses Figueretes, Llucmajor, Santa Maria, Montuïri, Pou de s’Àguila (Llucmajor) and Pou de Son Lluís (Porreres). A subsequent 2019-2020 action plan brought additional operations at Son Coletes, Manacor, Bunyola, Coll d’Artà and Valldemossa. Follow-up efforts have been carried out at Sencelles, Porreres, Ses Figueretes, Pou de Son Lluís and Santa Maria.

29 December 2020
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

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