Amazon rainforest fires wipe out tribes’ homes as they rage out of control through ancient protected forest reserves – The Sun

Amazon rainforest fires wipe out tribes’ homes as they rage out of control through ancient protected forest reserves – The Sun

AN AMAZON tribe has watched on as fire rages out of control through their native land, destroying homes and ancient protected forest reserves.

The indigenous Mura tribe are now surrounded by dry soil and fallen timber: the result of rapid deforestation and the thousands of wildfires that are raging out of control across Brazil.









Indigenous tribe leader Raimundo Mura, who lives in a reserve near Humaita in theAmazonas state said: "I'll give my last drop of blood for this forest."

He mourned: "All the trees had lives, they all needed to live, each in their own place.

"For us this is destruction. What is being done here is an atrocity against us."

Handech Wakana Mura, another local leader within the forest, said: "With each passing day we see the destruction advance – deforestation, invasion and logging.

"We are sad because the forest is dying at every moment.

"We feel the climate changing and the world needs the forest.

"We need the forest and our children need the forest."

OUT OF CONTROL

Alarming photos have recently revealed the full extent of the wildfires burning across the South American nation, often known as the lungs of the planet.

More than 9,500 new forest fires have started across Brazil, mainly in the Amazon rainforest basin since August 15.

And more than 70,000 fires have been recorded so far this year.

Experts estimate an entire three football pitches worth of rainforest are lost every minute.

The devastating fires could also dramatically speed up climate change, experts fear.




The extent of the Amazon rainforest fire is so severe they can be picked up by satellites.

Figures from Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) show that in July the Amazon rainforest, lost 519 square miles of trees, a new record for the most deforestation the Amazon has suffered in a single month.

INPE has reported an 84 per cent rise in wildfires since the start of the year with a total of 74,155 incidents so far.

Global Forest Watch, which is sponsored by the World Resources Institute and monitors forest and track fires using satellite date, said there had been 109,000 fire alerts in Brazil between August 13-22.

Brazil's largest state Amazonas declared a state of emergency on Monday.

The fires have also sparked an international row over what has caused the huge number of fires and whether enough is being done to combat them.

PRESIDENT BOLSONARO UNDER FIRE

Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has come under criticism from foreign leaders and environmentalists who blame his government for a rapid increase in deforestation.

They allege the openly climate change sceptic has turned a blind eye to loggers and farmers who are said to have started many of the fires deliberately so the land can be developed economically.

Bolsonaro has said in the past that protective measures on the rainforest has hindered economic growth.

In January, Bolsonaro promised to open up the Amazon to mining and farming.

French President Emmanuel Macron called the wildfires an international crisis and said the leaders of the Group of 7 nations should hold urgent discussions about them at their summit in France this weekend.

"Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest the lungs which produces 20% of our planet's oxygen is on fire," Macron tweeted.

Bolsonaro fired back with his own tweet: "I regret that Macron seeks to make personal political gains in an internal matter for Brazil and other Amazonian countries. The sensationalist tone he used does nothing to solve the problem."

Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest the lungs which produces 20% of our planet's oxygen is on fire.

Onyx Lorenzoni, the president's chief of staff, earlier in the day accused European countries of exaggerating environmental problems in Brazil in order to disrupt its commercial interests.

"There is deforestation in Brazil, yes, but not at the rate and level that they say," said Lorenzoni, according to the Brazilian news website globo.com.

Federal prosecutors in Brazil's Amazon region launched investigations of increasing deforestation, according to local media.

Prosecutors said they plan to probe possible negligence by the national government in the enforcement of environmental codes.

Bolivia is also struggling to contain big fires, many believed to have been set by farmers clearing land for cultivation.

So far an estimated 1.6million acres of forests and pastureland have been destroyed by wildfires, mainly in the eastern areas of Bolivia near the country's borders with Brazil and Paraguay.

Bolsonaro said there was a "very strong" indication that some non-governmental groups could be setting blazes in retaliation for losing state funds under his administration.

He did not provide any evidence.

1.6MILLION ACRES DESTROYED

The President told a steel industry congress in Brasilia: “On the question of burning in the Amazon, which in my opinion may have been initiated by NGOs because they lost money, what is the intention? To bring problems to Brazil.”

Bolsonaro also made similar allegations earlier when he suggested green groups had gone out with cameras and started fires deliberately so they could be filmed.

Bolsonaro, who won election last year, also accused media organisations of exploiting the fires to undermine his government.

"Most of the media wants Brazil to end up like Venezuela," he said, referring to political and economic turbulence in the neighbouring South American country.

Amnesty International blamed the Brazilian government for the fires, which have escalated international concern over the vast rainforest that is a major absorber of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Ricardo Mello, head of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Amazon Programme, said the fires were "a consequence of the increase in deforestation seen in recent figures".

The record number of fires were responsible for causing a daytime blackout in Sao Paulo, the country’s largest city, on Monday.

Thick smoke plunged the city into darkness at around 3pm for around an hour.

Climate change demonstrators have staged a number of protests today outside the Brazilian embassies in a number of countries.

London, Berlin and Mumbai all saw activists take to the streets calling for the country to tackle the problem.




Climate change activists from Extinction Rebellion protest outside the Brazilian embassy in London








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