Wildfires in country’s centre have already killed 24, injured 1,182
Minister for internal administration, José Luís Carneiro, has announced that Portugal will be sending a team of 140 firefighters to help combat deadly forest fires sweeping through central Chile. Already 24 people are known to have died, with 1,182 so far registered as injured.
Portugal’s ‘firefighting relationship with Chile’ goes back a long way. The two countries have helped each other in the past, with Chilean sappers actually dying here, fighting fires in central Portugal in 2006 – thus Portugal has traditionally felt a ‘debt of gratitude’.
Said Mr Carneiro today: “We have already communicated to the European Civil Protection Mechanism our availability of resources”.
140 people have been identified for the mission “from various forces and services, namely the Special Civil Protection Force of the National Republican Guard, the Special Protection and Rescue Unit, Forest Guards of the National Institute of Medical Emergency and the Portuguese Fire Brigade.”
Portugal is now waiting for an “expression of readiness and reception by Chilean authorities, so that these means can be mobilised, under the scope of the European Mechanism for Civil Protection”.
The minister also took the opportunity to send “a message of solidarity for the deaths of twenty-four civilians as well as firefighters who have been facing, in very difficult circumstances, these fires in Chile.”
The multiple forest fires have been powered by an intense period of drought, explain reports.
This is the second announcement today in which Portugal has offered to send human resources to scenes of tragedy. Earlier, Mr Carneiro expressed the country’s willingness to join the European rescue mission to Turkey, in the wake of this morning’s massive earthquake.