Brazil rejects G7 aid to fight Amazon wildfires

Brazil does not need help. The country on Monday turned down aid from the Group of Seven (G7) member states to fight the ongoing devastating wildfires in the Amazon rainforest.

The countries made the 20-million-U.S.-dollar aid offer at the G7 summit hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron in the French seaside resort of Biarritz. Macron proposed that the member countries take part in fighting the fire.

"We appreciate (the offer), but maybe those resources are more relevant to reforest Europe," Brazil's G1 news website quoted Onyx Lorenzoni, chief of staff to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, as saying.

"Macron cannot even avoid a foreseeable fire in a church that is a world heritage site," he added, referring to the fire in April that devastated the Notre-Dame cathedral. "What does he intend to teach our country?"

Although Brazil owns some 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest, the forest also covers eight other countries or territories, including the French overseas territory of Guiana on the northeast coast of South America.

Brazil has sent warplanes to dump water on the burning Amazon rainforest, according to the country's Defense Ministry.

The ministry posted a video on Twitter on Sunday, showing one of the two C-130 Hercules aircraft that had departed from Porto Velho, the capital of Rondonia state, flying over the rainforest and dumping water out of its jets.

Brazilian President Bolsonaro on Saturday told the press that the Amazon rainforest now "is not burning as people say," in a bid to assuage global concerns over the raging fires in the region.

On Friday, the president ordered the military to fight the massive fires, and over 40,000 troops have been sent to the region.

The French president and his Brazilian counterpart have locked horns during the past week because of the wildfires.

On Thursday evening Macron called the Amazon wildfires an international crisis, voicing his objection to the free trade agreement between the European Union and South American nations.

In response, Bolsonaro said that the French president's broaching the topic of the Amazon fire at the G7 summit only aims to blame Brazil.

Research institutions and media reports said major causes of the record-breaking fires include the dry season and human activities.

A total of 71,497 forest fires were registered in Brazil in the first eight months of 2019, up from 39,194 a year ago, according to data from Brazil's National Institute for Space Research.

Xinhua

ADVERTISEMENT