On Saturday wildfires broke out in the municipality of Pedrógão Grande, killing more than 60 people, destroying several villages and plunging Portugal into a state of national mourning.
And on Sunday, as the world stopped and prayed for those suffering, Eurovision 2017 winner Salvador Sobral responded with what he holds most dear: music.
Performing in Ourém — the latest stop in his national tour promoting his first album Excuse Me — he made the decision to donate all sales of CDs at the event to the Pedrogão Grande municipality.
Sharing a photograph of a stack of CDs on his official Facebook account, Salvador’s team wrote:
Faced with the ferocity of Mother Nature, it is up to each one of us to do the best we know and can to minimize the suffering of the populations of Pedrógão Grande. Salvador Sobral performs in Ourém and will put the music at the service of those who need help to rebuild: the receipt of all the records that will be on sale in the atrium of the Business Center where the concert is held tonight will revert entirely to the population of the municipality of Pedrógão Grande.
The fires still rage and the death toll is expected to rise in the hours to come.
The government has sent two army battalions to help the emergency services, and the European Union has offered firefighting aircraft. But high temperatures, zero humidity and severe winds have not helped firefighters as they battle Mother Nature.
On Sunday the Pope acknowledged the ongoing crisis during his weekly address.
“I am close to the dear people of Portugal, hit by a devastating fire which is raging in the forests around Pedrogao Grande, causing many victims and injuries,” he said. “Let us pray in silence.”
Next Tuesday, Salvador will take part in a solidarity concert in MEO Arena — the frontrunner among potential Eurovision 2018 venues. He’ll join more than 20 Portuguese performers singing to raise money for the affected families and villages.
It’s the latest demonstration of Salvador’s humanitarian side. At Eurovision he wore an “SOS Refugees” sweatshirt in his interview with wiwibloggs and tackled the issue directly during the Semi-Final 1 qualifiers’ press conference.
Do you have a message for all those affected by Portugal’s recent fires? What do you make of Salvador’s actions? Tell us in the comments section below.