Resignations in Portugal as forest fire death toll mounts

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-20 11:18:31|Editor: ying
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LISBON, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- The head of Portugal's National Civil Protection Authority (ANPC) has resigned as the death toll from Sunday's forest fires climbed to 43, the Portuguese Lusa News Agency reported Thursday.

Joaquim Leitao, president of the ANPC, handed his resignation letter to the government on Wednesday and it was accepted by Prime Minister Antonio Costa, although the news has yet to be officially announced.

Portugal's interior minister has been replaced amid criticism over the government's handling of a series of deadly forest fires that have killed more than 100 people in four months.

Constanca Urbano de Sousa handed her resignation to Costa Wednesday. She will be replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Eduardo Cabrita, the government has announced.

The recent death toll from the fires, which ravaged swathes of land in central Portugal recently, has risen to 43 after the discovery of another corpse near a hospital in the central city of Coimbra, authorities said Thursday.

Some 70 people have been injured, including more than a dozen who are in serious condition.

It is the second time Portugal has been struck by devastating forest fires in four months.

In mid-June, wildfires near Pedrogao Grande in central Portugal killed 64 people and injured more than 250 others in what were the deadliest blazes in the country's history.

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa visited part of the worst affected areas on Thursday to "listen to people and give them strength."