Portugal’s Interior Minister resigns after wildfires kill scores in four months

Hundreds of forest fires have raged across northern and central Portugal since June, killing 105 people, after the driest summer in 90 years

By: Reuters | Lisbon | Published:October 18, 2017 3:12 pm
This year, wildfires have burned a total of 3,50,000 hectares in Portugal, the worst since 2003. Photo for representation

Portugal’s Interior Minister Constanca Urbano de Sousa resigned on Wednesday after wildfires killed more than a hundred people in the past four months.

Hundreds of forest fires have raged across northern and central Portugal since Sunday after the driest summer in nearly 90 years, killing at least 41 people and overburdening firefighting and rescue services. In June, a forest fire killed 64 people. This year, wildfires have burned a total of 3,50,000 hectares, the worst since 2003.

The Interior Ministry, which is in charge of firefighters, the police and civil protection agency, has faced a lot of flak for not being able to bring the situation under control. “I didn’t have the political and personal conditions to continue in my post,” de Sousa said in her resignation letter.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa said he accepted the minister’s resignation, even as an opposition politician launched a motion of no-confidence in the ruling Socialist government on Tuesday.

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