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The Brazilian government rejected the help of the G7 to fight fires in the Amazon rainforest and said the situation is "under control" in a rapid diplomatic escalation between President Jair Bolsonaro and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

"We appreciate (the offer), but perhaps those resources are more relevant to reforest Europe ," Bolsonaro's chief of staff Onyx Lorenzoni told a blog on the G1 website, referring to the $ 20 million fund for Amazonian countries announced by Macron during the G7 summit in Biarritz, southern France.

"Macron cannot even avoid a foreseeable fire in a church that is a world heritage site and what does he intend to teach our country?" Lorenzoni challenged, referring to the fire that devastated Notre-Dame de Paris last April.

" He has a lot to take care of at home and in the French colonies," he added, referring to French overseas territories, including French Guiana, bordering Brazil.

In his most recent attacks, Bolsonaro accused the French ruler of "disguising his intentions on the Amazon behind the idea that an 'alliance' of the G7 countries to 'save' the Amazon, as if we were a colony or a land of no one".

Fire "under control"?

1,113 new fires were recorded between Saturday and Sunday and 80,626 were reported throughout Brazil this year, 78% more than in the same period of 20-18, according to data from the National Space Research Institute (INPE). More than half burn the Amazon region.

But the defense minister, Fernando Azevedo e Silva, said Monday that the situation "is under control" and that for now it only "worries a little" the fire reported in the states of Acre, Rondonia and Pará (north).

"It has been a bit exaggerated that the situation is out of control, it is not. We had much higher fire peaks in other years," said Azevedo e Silva.

Two C-130 Hercules tankers launched tens of thousands of liters of water on Monday in the burned areas of the state of Rondonia (bordering Bolivia), as part of the military operation ordered Friday by Bolsonaro, amid increasing internal pressure and International

Azevedo e Silva said that the deployment of more than 2,500 military personnel, hundreds of vehicles and dozens of aircraft have helped to ease the fires and that the igneous foci have also diminished thanks to the rains in the western Amazon. The minister said that it is also expected to strengthen the fight against fire with brigades and tankers offered by Chile and Ecuador.

In the next few days, Israel will also send "100 tons of anti-fire material" to prevent the spread of fires, the spokeswoman for the Israeli embassy in Brazil told AFP. The aid was agreed on Sunday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bolsonaro in a telephone conversation.

Respiratory problems

Porto Velho, the capital of Rondonia, has been dawn for several days under a haze caused by smoke from the region's fires, one of the most affected in the country.

In the Cosme e Damião Children's Hospital, the main center of care for children up to 12 years of age in the city, several families wait in turn to be treated for ailments generated or aggravated by the continuous inhalation of smoke in the environment.

"The smoke can be very aggressive. The most affected are children and the elderly. We tend to attend an average of 240 patients per day. Now we are attending about 280," Sergio Pereira, general director of the hospital, told AFP.

In Brazil, the increasing deforestation caused to open space for crops or grazing aggravated the usual fire season, experts say.

The nationalist letter

Bolsonaro tries to thoroughly play the nationalist card in the Amazon, a subject to which Brazilians from both left and right are sensitive.

Since coming to power in January, Bolsonaro starred in several controversies with environmentalists , coming to question the INPE data and paralyze the Amazon Fund, financed by Norway and to a lesser extent by Germany, for the preservation of the rainforest.

Their rhetoric created discomfort in the agribusiness sectors, which fear the closure of markets for Brazilian meats and cereals because of suspicions that they could come from deforested areas.

A survey conducted between August 22 and 25, in full controversy, revealed that Bolsonaro's approval rating fell from 57.5% in February to 41% in August, while disapproval rose from 28.2% to 53.7%

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

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  • Brazil
  • David Silva
  • Israel
  • Norway
  • Paris
  • Benjamin Netanyahu
  • Emmanuel Macron
  • France
  • Fires

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