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​Statements by president of the Government during visit to Galicia to review situation caused by wildfires

Pazos de Borbén (Pontevedra), Monday 16 October 2017

President of the Government.- A very good afternoon to you. Thank you very much for attending this press briefing.

As you are aware, countless numbers of fires have broken out in Galicia over the last 48 hours and I, as the President of the Government, but also as a Gallego, wish to be here, firstly, to express our condolences over the deaths of three people so far as a result of these fires. Just look at Portugal, suffering from a similar situation, but where 30 people have died already. Hence, our condolences to all their families, which I believe I can transmit on behalf of all the people of Spain.

I also said to the President of the Regional Government of Galicia - I met up with him earlier in Vigo, and also with the mayor and senior officials from the police, the Guardia Civil and Civil Protection - that we are obviously ready and willing to provide any support they may need. Almost 600 members of the Emergency Military Unit have now travelled here to Galicia, together with more than 10 aerial resources, which have some difficulties flying because of the weather conditions. Another significant consignment of material resources is also on its way to Asturias and Castile and Leon, which are also suffering from similar difficulties.

I would like to state one thing: in reality, what we are witnessing here is something that has not happened by chance. This was caused deliberately. We are here in the Town Council offices in Pazos de Borbén, where there has been a major fire. It started at 1:30 am on Sunday morning in five different points at the same time. You will appreciate that it is impossible for this to happen under normal circumstances.

We have also seen more than 125 fires raging at the same time. The previous record was 50 fires in the month of August, at a time when the temperatures were much higher, and hence, it was much easier for fires to break out.

Today I have given instructions for the Guardia Civil and the police to make every possible effort to arrest the people responsible for a situation such as this. In Vigo, a fire was even started on plots of land adjoining houses, causing a situation of great confusion.

Hence, this will be one of the main aims in the coming days. The situation is now a little better than yesterday, above all in the provinces of Pontevedra and A Coruña; although the situation is worse in Lugo and Ourense. Let's hope that the efforts by so many thousands of people, including military personnel, police offices, the local police and volunteers, bear fruit soon, and that this is helped by the weather. As you know, it has now rained in some parts. This has been very positive, but we hope that the joint effort by so many people will bear fruit in the end.

In short, the government wishes to be here, close to so many people who have had so many problems in recent days, and for any aid that they may need - I said this personally, and repeat it now publicly, to the President of the Regional Government of Galicia - we are here, as is our duty, I should state that, at the full disposition of the Regional Government of Galicia and all its people.

Does anyone have any questions? Thank you very much.

Non official translation