Published On: Fri, Aug 23rd, 2019

Amazon fires latest: Just 40 firefighters tackling blaze as Bolsonaro debates sending Army | World | News

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro told reporters Brazil was in “chaos” and his government could only send “40 men” to fight the extensive fires. He said: “The Ministry of Justice can send 40 men to combat the fight, but do you understand that? Forty men. There are not enough resources. We are in chaos.” After widespread condemnation from world leaders that not enough is being done, Mr Bolsonaro said on Friday the army could be sent to help combat fires sweeping through the Amazon rainforest.

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson have stated their concern for the rainforest.

The European Union has also expressed concern with European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva saying: “The commission is deeply worried. The Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest and contains one 10th of the world’s species.”

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “The Prime Minister is deeply concerned by the increase in fires in the Amazon rainforest and the impact of the tragic loss of these precious habitats.

“The effect of these fires will be felt around the world which is why we need international action to protect the world’s rainforests.

Read More: Amazon Rainforest fire weather: Is it raining in the Amazon?

“The UK will continue to support projects in Brazil to do this, and the Prime Minister will use the G7 to call for a renewed focus on protecting nature and tackling climate change together.”

After criticism, Mr Bolsonaro told reporters he would meet with ministers later on Friday to discuss the next steps and that sending in the army was among the leading options.

Mr Macron’s office has accused Mr Bolsonaro of lying when he played down concerns about climate change at the G20 summit in June.

Mr Macron’s office added that, given this context, France would be opposed to the EU – Mercosur farming deal struck between the European Union and the Mercosur countries of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

Read More: Amazon rainforest fire: Who is fighting the Amazon Rainforest fire?

The French President also tweeted to say: “Our house is burning. Literally.

“The Amazon rain forest – the lungs which produces 20 percent of our planet’s oxygen – is on fire.”

Fires in the Amazon have surged 83 percent so far this year compared with the same period a year ago, government figures show, destroying vast swathes of forest considered a vital bulwark against global climate change.

Shocking images show the extent of the flames, with dangerous smoke spreading across Brazil and into Peru.

Read More: Amazon Rainforest fire current status: How much has been burned?

Known as “the lungs of the world” the Amazon rainforest takes in carbon, and gives out oxygen – as well as controlling the climate and creating its weather.

The sharp increase in fires correlates with an increase in deforestation under Mr Bolsonaro’s government.

The National Institute for Space Research said Brazil had seen a record number of wildfires this year – with 74,155 counted as of Tuesday.

States worst affected by the flames are Mato Grosso, Amazonas and Para, which are inside the Amazon area.

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