With 42 fatalities already confirmed, the number of those who have lost their lives in the Madeira floods and mudslides looks certain to rise.
Rescuers have been sifting through the debris in an effort to find more victims of the deluge that struck the island resort.
Divers have been flown in from the Portuguese mainland to search for bodies believed washed out to sea by the sheer power of the flood waters.
The mayor of Madeira’s capital Funchal has likened the tragedy to Dante’s Inferno with people being swept away in their cars and entire houses becoming submerged in mud.
Businessman Rui Alberto Silva said: “This is the way we Portuguese are. After the storm, the calm. So we have to go back to work. I work right there so I don’t have many problems getting here. We have to clear up our tears and go on. That’s the way it should be isn’t it?”
Islander Miguel Eduardo said: “The recovery is going to be hard work. It is not going to be easy. It will take us a few months to recover Madeira island. It’s not easy.”
A British national – a 50-year-old woman – died in the floods. Her next of kin have been informed.
Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates has pledged “all aid that the regional government requires in this serious situation”. He has also appealed to the European Union for assistance.