UN chief express sadness over death of 62 people in wildfires in Portugal

Guterres said he spoke earlier on Sunday with the President of Portugal, Marcelo de Sousa, and with the Prime Minister, António Costa.

Guterres, in a statement issued on Sunday, condoled the Portuguese Government and people, saying he was “shocked and horrified” at the many lives claimed by the raging wildfires.

Portugal has declared three days of mourning as 62 people were declared killed by the fire, most of them trapped in their cars by flames as treacherous wind drove the blaze beyond firefighters control.

The government has declared Sunday through Tuesday national days of mourning for the victims of a fire “which has caused an irreparable loss of human life”, with casualties expected to rise.

Guterres said he spoke earlier on Sunday with the President of Portugal, Marcelo de Sousa, and with the Prime Minister, António Costa, expressing his deep sadness.

According to reports, the fast-moving wildfires ripped through the forested Pedrógão Grande central region of Portugal, some 150 kilometers (95 miles) northeast of Lisbon, leaving dozens dead and more injured.

“I wish a speedy recovery to the injured. At this time of loss, my thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims,” Guterres said.

The UN chief commended the efforts of  government agencies, firefighters, emergency responders and civil society organizations that are sparing no efforts to battle the wildfire and help people in need.

“The UN stands ready to assist in any way possible,” the Secretary-General concluded.

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