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Condolences sent to Portugal over forest fires

Update: June, 20/2017 - 10:23
President Trần Đại Quang on Monday sent a message of condolences to his Portuguese counterpart Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa over the human and property losses caused by forest fires in central Portugal. — Photo EPA

HÀ NỘI — President Trần Đại Quang on Monday sent a message of condolences to his Portuguese counterpart Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa over the human and property losses caused by forest fires in central Portugal.

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

The forest fires broke out on June 17 in Pedrogao Grande city, about 200km southeast of Lisbon, killing at least 62 people and injuring more than 60 others, five of them seriously.

The combination of high temperatures and strong winds appeared to contribute 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 Monday.

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

In 2016, fires ravaged the country with 40 homes destroyed and 5,400ha of land burned. — VNS

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