By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
BUSINESS victims of the October 4 hurricane which caused widespread devastation in Majorca are still waiting for state and regional government aid.
Palma's Can Valero industrial estate was the worst affected by the clutch of tornadoes which ripped through the island and 50 percent of the businesses based on the estate are in limbo.

25 percent have yet to return to work while a further 25 of the businesses are struggling to operate fully.
Victims have until November 7 to apply for state and regional aid to complement compensation from their insurance companies but government aid is not expected to start flowing for another month and, for many businesses, that means they may not be able to operate properly until the New Year.

Another complication uncovered by a study carried out by the small business association PIMEM this week is that 70 percent of businesses are operating in rented industrial space.

Some businesses have cut their losses and relocated to other rented warehouses but others are locked in negotiations with the property owners over whom is going to pay for the repairs and PIMEM wants businesses operating out of rented retail sites to receive urgent and immediate aid because PIMEM fears they may not be fully operational for the next three or even four months.

This week, representatives from the Ministry for Commerce and Industry have called for a meeting with Can Valero businesses next week to discuss the current situation and how best the ministry can improve and speed up its aid package.

Sources for the minister for commerce and industry in Palma have expressed their intentions to start helping businesses hit by the storm as quickly as possible - but they have yet to exactly explain how they intend to do so, apart from providing compensation.

In the meantime, PIMEM is stressing upon government the need for help to be provided as soon as possible because the longer businesses remain paralyzed or operating at a minimum, the costs of their losses continue to spiral and, despite the regional and national administrations intentions to provide 100 percent compensation, by the time the cash aid finally arrives it may prove to be insufficient.

The unannounced October 4 storm directly affected a total of 241 workers on the Can Valero industrial estate alone before the tornadoes cut a swathe of disaster across the island.

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