Portugal : au moins 57 morts dans un gigantesque incendie de forêt

19 Juin, 2017, 18:37 | Author: Claudine Rigal
  • Un homme observe l'incendie qui ravage la forêt  dans la région de Leiria dans le centre du Portugal

En février 2009 en Australie, au moins 173 personnes sont mortes, notamment dans l'État de Victoria où des villes entières et plus de 2 000 maisons sont rasées. Mais les autorités n'excluent pas de trouver d'autres victimes dans des villages cernés par des murs de flammes. Le dernier bilan provisoire, dimanche après-midi, est de 62 morts et une cinquantaine de blessés, selon le secrétaire d'État à l'Intérieur, Jorge Gomes.

Drame " Des familles piégées par les flammes dans leurs voitures.

"Malheureusement, c'est sans doute la plus grande tragédie que nous ayons connue ces dernières années sur le front des incendies de forêt", avait déclaré plus tôt, ému, le Premier ministre portugais Antonio Costa, depuis le siège de la Protection civile près de Lisbonne.

Un précédent bilan faisait état de 43 morts.

"La priorité, c'est de sauver des personnes qui pourraient toujours être en danger", a-t-il relevé. Selon les autorités portugaises, une grande partie des victimes ont péri samedi dans leurs voitures, piégées par les flammes.

Sur l'île touristique de Madère, où les feux ont fait trois morts en août, 5400 hectares sont partis en fumée en 2016 et près d'une quarantaine de maisons ont été détruites. Plus d'une centaine d'incendies de forêt faisaient encore rage à travers le pays dimanche matin, combattus par quelque 1800 pompiers. L'incendie a évolué sur quatre fronts.

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C'est dans la nuit de samedi à dimanche que l'incendie a tout emporté sur son passage.

L'incendie s'est déclenché samedi vers 15h à Pedrogao Grande, dans la région de Leiria, en pleine canicule, avec des températures dépassant les 40 degrés. Mais les pompiers devraient "certainement rencontrer encore d'autres victimes sur le terrain" pendant leurs recherches "village par village", a précisé hier le Premier ministre Antonio Costa.

"Il y a des gens qui sont arrivés en disant qu'ils ne voulaient pas mourir dans leurs maisons, qui étaient entourées de flammes", a raconté aux médias l'un d'entre eux, Ricardo Tristao.

Le président portugais Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa a souligné que la tragédie a touché des "Portugais dont on parle peu, d'une zone rurale isolée".

Trois jours de deuil ont été décrétés par le gouvernement alors que la saison des feux ne fait que commencer. Onze avions de lutte anti-incendie ont été déployés dans le centre du pays, envoyés par l'Espagne, la France et l'Italie. Plus de 800 pompiers et près de 260 véhicules étaient toujours mobilisés pour combattre ce sinistre, le plus meurtrier de l'histoire récente du Portugal. "Il est difficile de dire s'ils fuyaient les flammes ou ont été surpris par le feu ", a-t-il déclaré.

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