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35 dead as wildfires sweep through Portugal, Spain.

dpa Madrid Months of drought have reignited wildfires in Portugal and north-western Spain, leaving at least 35 people dead and around 50 injured as rescue workers endeavour to reach areas impacted by the blazes. The death toll is expected to rise. A 1-month-old infant was among at least 31 people who were killed by wildfires in several central districts of Portugal, according to the country's civil defence authorities. Fifteen of the some 50 people injured were severely wounded by the flames. In Spain, four people were reported dead in the north-western province of Galicia: three by Spanish authorities, and one by Spanish media citing local authorities. Santiago Villanueva of the region's autonomous government told broadcaster Cadena Ser that the fires there were believed to be acts of arson and that investigations of several suspects were being carried out. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who is currently facing a political crisis over the autonomous north-eastern region of Catalonia's bid for independence, rushed to Galicia on Monday to examine the situation. Portugal's central districts of Coimbra and Castela Branco, as well as Viseu further north, were worst hit by the fires. A~civil defence spokesman said authorities had identified 65 separate blaze areas, 32 of which are burning especially fiercely. Authorities called on residents to fight the flames themselves, as fire fighters could not be expected to reach all affected areas, and countless streets were no longer passable. Warm winds from the south had fanned the fires, but authorities are hoping for an Atlantic low-pressure system that will bring rain in the coming days. Evacuations were carried out in approximately 20 villages in Galicia threatened by the fires, as well as a student residence at Spain's University of Vigo and at a factory for carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen.

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Publication:Qatar Tribune (Doha, Qatar)
Geographic Code:4EUPR
Date:Oct 17, 2017
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