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Nation leaders send condolences to Portugal over forest fires

June 20, 2017 | 08:53

President Tran Dai Quang on June 19th sent a message of condolences to his Portuguese counterpart Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa over human and property losses caused by forest fires in central Portugal.

President Tran Dai Quang on June 19th sent a message of condolences to his Portuguese counterpart Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa over human and property losses caused by forest fires in central Portugal.

The same day, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh also extended his sympathies to Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva over the disaster.

The devastating forest fires broke out on June 17th in Pedrogao Grande city, about 200km south-east of Lisbon capital city, killing at least 62 people and injuring over 60 others, five of them seriously.

Nation leaders send condolences to Portugal over forest fires

Wreckage of a pickup truck remains in front of a burnt house destroyed during a wildfire at Pobrais in Pedrogao Grande, Portugal. (PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP)

The combination of high temperatures and strong winds appeared to have contributed to the rapid spread of the fires. Portugal is suffering a severe heat wave with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius in many areas.

More than 1,000 firefighters are still battling the blaze, which spread to neighbouring regions of Castelo Branco and Coimbra on June 19th.

Earlier, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced three days of national mourning for the victims of the forest fires.

Portugal was hit by a series of fires last year which devastated more than 100,000 hectares of the mainland.

Fires on the tourist island of Madeira in August killed three people, while across 2016 around 40 homes were destroyed and 5,400 hectares of land burned./.

VNF/VNA