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Officials have been assessing the damage to lives, and homes lost, after the violent mudslides which overwhelmed parts of the island of Madeira at the weekend.

Portugal’s government has promised to send financial aid to the autonomous holiday resort, while the EU is to be asked for solidarity funds to help rebuild the infrastructure.

Meanwhile the search goes on for victims. The death toll remains at 42, although that could change as some remote villages have not yet been reached because of blocked roads.

Speaking on local television, Madeira’s regional President, Alberto João Jardim, defended his decision not to declare a state of emergency. He explained that for an island which relies on tourism as its main source of income, that would have been one more disaster.

While Portugal’s finance minister is due to visit today, Madeira’s most famous son, footballer Christiano Ronaldo, has expressed his concern.

“I saw it on the television and couldn’t believe it, but these things do happen. Now we have to think positively and try to help,” he told reporters in Spain.

His family appears to have escaped unhurt but the Real Madrid star plans to help raise funds by playing in a charity match.

The clean-up and rebuild are likely to cost millions of euros but, for now, one small mercy is that no more heavy rain is forecast for Madeira, reducing fears of further mudslides.

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