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Scandinavian monarchs send condolences to Portugal after devastating fires

After devastating forest fires have hit Portugal, Their Majesties King Harald V of Norway and King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden sent their condolences to the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

King Harald told President Rebelo de Sousa:

“Your Excellency,

I was deeply saddened to hear the news about the devastating wildfires that have been ravaging central Portugal the last few days, causing so many dead and injured and so much physical damage and destruction.

On behalf of myself and the Norwegian people, I send you my condolences and ask you to convey my deepest sympathies to those bereaved and to those otherwise afflicted by this tragic disaster.” 

King Carl XVI Gustaf said in a telegram sent to Lisbon:

The Queen and I wish to convey our sincere condolences on the tragic loss of life Following the devastating wildfire in Pedrógão Grande in central Portugal. We offer our heartfelt sympathies to the families of the victims and to the people of Portugal.”

Additionally, the Spanish Monarchy tweeted out, “Overwhelmed by the tragedy in Pedrógão Grande. All the solitary and affection of Spain with Portugal.”

The forest fire has raged in central Portugal, around the area ofPedrógão Grande, since Saturday; it is believed to have been caused by lightning. Many people were trapped in their cars after the inferno scorched the road and at least 30 motorists died in their cars. Another 17 people were found next to their vehicles after trying to flee. In total, at least 64 have been killed in the blaze with over 130 injured.

On Sunday, Prime Minister António Costa, during a visit to the area, said that the disastrous inferno had brought “a dimension of human tragedy that we cannot remember.” The Portuguese government has declared a state of emergency in the region.

Officials have said that the high temperatures have made it difficult to bring the fire under control. A volunteer rescuer told Reuters that there was not much optimism about bringing the fire under control due to the weather, “Low humidity, windy conditions and high temperatures will easily re-ignite the fire, and it will spread very fast.”

The country is observing three days of mourning for those who have been killed in the blaze.

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