In the News Gazpacho in Guinness Book of Records The Unica Group horticultural co-operative company with their headquarters in Almería brought together people from all over Andalucía and Murcia to celebrate their 10th anniversary on June 9th in Almería city. They used 7,000kg of tomatoes, 500kg of gherkins, 300kg of onions, 500kg of peppers, 600 litres of virgin olive oil, large quantities of salt, vinegar and water to make 9,800 litres of gazpacho, the famous Spanish cold soup. Victor Cenes, a Spanish official from the Guinness Book of Records, came from London and certified it as being the largest amount of gazpacho ever produced and presented them with a commemorative plaque. The previous record in Lisbon was a mere 5,000 litres! The taste was stated to be excellent from the first class products that were used and large numbers of the general public tried it and made donations. The funds generated were given to the Cancer Association, AECC, and the Association for Physically Challenged Children, ANDA. The President of the Unica Group, José Martínez Portero (who came up with the idea), thanked all the companies who had subsidised the event and apart from the gazpacho, 10 enormous paellas were prepared and handed out. Various officials were in attendance including the Delegate for Agriculture and Fisheries from the Junta de Andalucía.
A Very Large Number of Hospital Operations The new Junta de Andalucía government (the governing body for Almería province) announced in March that the previous government had been consistently understating the number of people waiting for hospital appointments and surgery. Their president stated that in all of Andalucía there were 163,000 people waiting for operation and 26 million Euros was being allocated for 2019 with a target of 31,600 people who had been on a waiting list for more than 12 months having operations. Surgeons were asked to volunteer to work in the afternoons and Saturdays with pay, and 200 agreed to do this with extra surgeons given permanent employment contracts. A large number of new medical students were set on who will work their way through the comprehensive training, and ward staff on part time contracts were offered full time ones. Letters
were immediately sent out to patients waiting for operations and the new scheme came into force on April 1st. This included the Torrecárdenas hospital in Almería city, the Poniente hospital in El Ejido and La Inmaculada hospital in Huércal-Overa. An operating theatre there that was not in use was re-opened and specialists who people are waiting to see were also asked to work additional hours. In mid-June it was announced that up to the end of May, 755 additional operations had been carried out in Almería province. Eye operations in Huércal-Overa (that do not need a large operating theatre staff) were made on 41 people in five sessions with 14 in a single day, and surgeons from the Urology and Traumatology department operated on people on the waiting list. At Torrecárdenas in Almería city 213 extra operations were carried out in 56 extra sessions with 84 in the general surgical department and 11 on one day. 30 women had gynaecology operations and 24 patients were treated in the Urology department. The total cost for all the operations in Almería province was given as being 270,000 Euros.
Proposed Restart on the Pulpí-Vera AVE No work has been done in Almería province since 2011 regarding the construction of the AVE (High speed train) that will come from Murcia to Almería city, a distance of 180km, with the first trains arriving in 2024-2025. Work was supposed to have started three years ago on the 12km section from Pulpí, which is on the border with Almería and Murcia provinces, to Cuevas. The contract had been awarded to the construction company SACYR but they pulled out when the completion date arrived and no work had started. This was because the rail authority ADIF did not own all the land. Recently a contract was awarded again for the construction of the line from Pulpí to Vera, where there will be a station, and work is scheduled to start on other sections in Murcia and Almería. In mid-June it was announced that marker pegs were being put in place to show the route with a promise that work will start in “one month or slightly longer”. Expropriations of the necessary land are stated to be in an advanced stage but work cannot start until this has been done. Where the line runs through Cuevas there is a major problem as it is the natural habitat of the
The Almeria Focus is a local directory and magazine distributed monthly in the Almeria province of southeast Spain.