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JustGiving page for former Suffolk family left homeless after Portugal home devastated in forest fire

PUBLISHED: 17:59 23 June 2017 | UPDATED: 18:05 23 June 2017

The devastated home of a former Suffolk family in Portugal after the country's deadliest natural disaster in decades. A family-of-five from the Halesworth area moved there five years ago: parents Nigel and Julie Green and their children Jack, George and Emma. Picture: JULIE GREEN

The devastated home of a former Suffolk family in Portugal after the country's deadliest natural disaster in decades. A family-of-five from the Halesworth area moved there five years ago: parents Nigel and Julie Green and their children Jack, George and Emma. Picture: JULIE GREEN

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A young family-of-five who moved to Portugal from Suffolk almost a decade ago have been left homeless after the country’s deadliest natural disaster in decades.

Nigel Green, 53, with children Jack, 11, and George, 19. Picture: JULIE GREENNigel Green, 53, with children Jack, 11, and George, 19. Picture: JULIE GREEN

A JustGiving fundraising page has been set up for the Green family, who previously lived in the Halesworth.

Parents Nigel, 53, and Julie, 50, along with children Emma, in her early 20s, George, 19, and Jack, 11, are currently staying with friends after being safely evacuated from the Pedrogao Grande area, one of the worst-hit areas of the forest fires that has killed 64 people.

See here to donate to the JustGiving page.

The devastated home of a former Suffolk family in Portugal after the country's deadliest natural disaster in decades. A family-of-five from the Halesworth area moved there five years ago: parents Nigel and Julie Green and their children Jack, George and Emma. Picture: JULIE GREENThe devastated home of a former Suffolk family in Portugal after the country's deadliest natural disaster in decades. A family-of-five from the Halesworth area moved there five years ago: parents Nigel and Julie Green and their children Jack, George and Emma. Picture: JULIE GREEN

Their story has been shared by another former Suffolk family, who knew the Green family, who also moved to Portugal five years ago.

Ann David, 65, and Tim David, 66, also from the Halesworth area, have established the JustGiving page, which has raised almost £1,000.

Mrs David, who taught the Green children at primary school, wrote: “Everybody will have heard about the fires which have been raging in Central Portugal for the past week. This is something which happens every year but the scale of the fires this year is unprecedented.

Nigel Green, 53, (far left), Julie Green, 50, (far right) with children (l-r): Emma, early 20s, Jack, 11, and George, 19. Picture: JULIE GREENNigel Green, 53, (far left), Julie Green, 50, (far right) with children (l-r): Emma, early 20s, Jack, 11, and George, 19. Picture: JULIE GREEN

“I will not go in to detail as you will probably have seen pictures on the national news, but I will say that the news is not exaggerating. So many people have lost their homes and livelihoods. The local people are kind and generous, as are the foreigners living here. The national relief operation is huge. I do not know yet what help people will be getting from central funds.

“My husband and I retired to the region five years ago and are lucky not to have been affected by the fires so far.

“We have friends who live in the centre of the worst hit area, Pedrogao Grande. I know them as I taught their older son George at Bramfield Primary school. Their children Emma and Jack attended Edgar Sewter Primary in Halesworth and Emma and George went on to Bungay High School.

“Firstly I have to say that they are safe. They were evacuated and are currently staying with friends. They have been back to their home and their property has been devastated by the fires. It is not yet safe to stay there as the fire has revisited their land seven times.

Firefighters of the Portuguese National Republican Guard work to stop a forest fire from reaching the village of Avelar, central Portugal. Picture: AP PHOTO/ARMANDO FRANCAFirefighters of the Portuguese National Republican Guard work to stop a forest fire from reaching the village of Avelar, central Portugal. Picture: AP PHOTO/ARMANDO FRANCA

“They moved to Portugal nine years ago to live a sustainable life. They have integrated into the community. They have worked extremely hard at building a life which considerate to the planet. The whole family has worked so physically hard only to see their labours go up in smoke. This family lives frugally, helping their neighbours and definitely not craving the luxuries many of us have.

“There are so many worthy causes and we are trying to share our resources where we can. I have set up a Just Giving page on Facebook to help them begin to rebuild whilst they wait to see what other help they will get. Any donations will be so gratefully received.

“I had messages from the family today and they are already overwhelmed by the care being shown to them. George said he wished he could wake up and find that the nightmare was over.

“Julie says ‘we have just been to our land and i was devastated but still happy to have the main house standing , then as we left another fire started and it went straight to our land for the 6th time !!!this time i am pretty sure it took whatever was left .... it just never stops .’”

A fire fighting aircraft drops water over a fire outside the village of Pedrogao Grande central Portugal. Picture: AP PHOTO/PAULO DUARTEA fire fighting aircraft drops water over a fire outside the village of Pedrogao Grande central Portugal. Picture: AP PHOTO/PAULO DUARTE

Meanwhile, official reports into Portugal’s deadliest natural disaster in decades have described freak conditions that drove the wildfire that killed 64 people.

Portuguese authorities said they have contained a second fire that raged for five days close by.

More than 2,000 firefighters and some two dozen water-dropping aircraft fought the two fires for days and nights amid strong winds and temperatures above 40C (104F) as the country’s annual wildfire season started earlier than usual.

Traditionally, emergency services gear up for major fires from July 1.

Several official investigations are assessing the disaster response, including why 47 of the deaths on Saturday night occurred on a country road as people fleeing the flames in their cars were engulfed by the blaze.

One of the biggest care homes in Ipswich is closing, health chiefs have announced.

A man has been arrested following a single vehicle crash on the A14 at Nacton which left a vehicle on its roof.

MPs from across the region have met with ambulance bosses amid ongoing concerns over the crisis that hit the service during the festive period.

“I must have been the only headteacher in the country going home every day praying that Ofsted would come in, because we knew we were good,” says Rick Tracey.

Four people have appeared in court charged with affray, following an alleged brawl at an Ipswich hotel.

A Felixstowe man brandished a pruning saw during a late night fight with neighbours at a block of flats in the town, a court has heard.

Plans have been lodged to knock down a derelict former pub in Ipswich and give the land a new lease of life as flats.

Forecasters are predicting a cold start to the beginning of March as temperatures struggle to rise above freezing.

An Ipswich burglar will be sentenced next month after going on a “drive round” with police to identify other properties he has broken into.

Suffolk County Council has set out challenging new targets for schools as part of the renewal of the Raising The Bar project for another two years.

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