Palma.—For the first time in days, the atmosphere in Andraitx, where the control centre was set up to coordinate the massive battle against the blaze which has destroyed 2'000 hectares in the area since Friday, was brighter than it has been for the past five days and the arrival of the Queen Sofia of Spain, Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Elena lifted people's spirits even more.

The royals were making an official visit to Andraitx to thank the emergency services and volunteers who have worked tirelessly since last Friday, many through the nights, and also some of the 730 people who were evacuated from their homes in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The royals visited the control centre which has been set up inside Andraitx Town Hall and personally thanked scores of the people who have been, and still are, involved in tackling the blaze which should be under complete control by today.

The royals were applauded twice during their visit and then after having been greeted by the President of the Balearics, Jose Ramon Bauza, the President of the Council of Majorca, Maria Salom and the Central Government Delegate to the Balearics, Teresa Palmer, they spent 40 minutes inside the main control centre talking to the teams which have been coordinating fighting the worst forest fire in Spain this year.

It was while they were in the command centre that the small fire broke out in the Port of Andraitx, so they were able to see at first hand how the emergency services battle forest fires.

They later toured the Town Hall where a food distribution centre has been operating for the past five days supplying all of the fire fighters and volunteers with food and refreshments.

The President of the Balearics, Jose Ramon Bauza, who has spent much of the past five days on site in Andraitx monitoring the situation, made the most of the opportunity to thank the emergency services again.The Balearic Minister for Agriculture and Environment, Miguel Arias Cañete, told the media that the royals spoke of their admiration and respect for the determination and solidarity of the Majorcan people in the way they have faced up to the fire.

He said that the royals were most impressed by the way the public responded, opening their homes to the evacuees, and providing food for the emergency services and the victims.

Bauza thanked the royals for their interest and concern about the ecological disaster and its affect on the public of Majorca.
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