By Humphrey Carter
THE Balearic government is to donate 150'000 euros to help the massive emergency operation underway in South and South East Asia.
Balearic vice-president Rosa Estaràs announced the aid package yesterday after having held talks with the government's emergency committee. However, she said that the government has yet to decide to which countries and which areas in particular the money will be destined.

Nevertheless, Rosa Estaràs said that the funds will be managed by the Spanish Emergency Committee. Along with the rest of the donations from local governments and authorities across the country, they will be channelled through three particular non-government organisations operating in the area. They are the Red Cross, the Vicenç Ferrer Foundation and Unicef.

The Fondo Mallorquín de Solidaridad y Cooperación has also donated 60.000 euros to the Vicenç Ferrer Foundation in India where the charity has been working for the past ten years.

The Fondo Mallorquin has also opened up an account at the Camp Redo branch of Sa Nostra for anyone wishing to make a donation to the earthquake emergency fund.

For the time being, the Balearic local emergency services have decided that the best way to help the emergency operation is to provide much needed funds. The Spanish government is considering flying an Airbus full of materials being donated by the various charities out to Sri Lanka.

The Spanish government is in continual contact with the various participating local authorities, such as the Balearics, and charities to make sure that any action is taken as quickly as possible in order to be of the maximum assistance.

However, eight Spanish fire fighters and two of their specially trained rescue dogs started work in Sri Lanka yesterday with Bomberos Unidas Sin Fronteras. In the Balearics, members of Bomberos Sin Fronteras, who on Sunday offered their services to the Spanish Foreign Ministry and spent all day considering and discussing their options, are staying put for the time being with teams nearer the disaster zone being flown in.

Representative for Bomberos Sin Fronteras in the Balearics, Andreu Munar, said that for logistical reasons, the organisation is using teams much nearer the disaster zone, in particular those with experience of catastrophes of this kind.

He said that apart from the huge cost involved with flying a team of local fire fighters out to South Asia, few are experienced in dealing with a rescue operation of this type.

Nevertheless, they remain on stand-by in Majorca.


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