Fires on Portuguese island Madeira kill three

Lisbon, Aug 12 (IANS) Wildfires killed three people on Portugal’s Madeira island and resulted in an economic loss of at least 55 million euros ($61.27 million), local media reported on Thursday.

Two people were severely injured and 200 people suffered from minor injuries with respiratory and eye problems. Over 1,000 people were evacuated, Xinhua quoted newspaper Publico as saying, citing Paulo Cafofo, mayor of Madeira capital Funchal.

Over 200 buildings and homes were affected by the fires and half of them were completely burned down, according to the newspaper.

Banks BCP and Santander Totta have set up funds to help those who lost their homes in the fires, according to financial daily Diario Economico.

Portugal triggered the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism on Wednesday to ask for other states to help.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa arrived in Portugal on Thursday and held a meeting with Madeira’s mayor.

The authorities claim that the fires were mainly due to high temperatures, which reached around 38 degrees Celsius in the past days, coupled with strong winds.

Criminals have also been blamed for the fires. Police detained a 23-year-old suspect on Monday for allegedly starting a fire in Sao Roque, in Funchal.

–IANS

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