Minister defends government over fatal fire

26th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

26 July 2005, MADRID – The government's environment minister told the Spanish parliament on Tuesday nothing could have been done to contain the forest fire in Guadalajara which claimed 11 lives.

26 July 2005

MADRID – The government's environment minister told the Spanish parliament on Tuesday nothing could have been done to contain the forest fire in Guadalajara which claimed 11 lives.

Cristina Narbora had to defend the government's action in the operation to put out the fire after MPs voted against hearing explanations from vice-president María Teresa Fernández de la Vega.

"Nothing could have avoided the tragedy," she said, given the explosive fire which was produced through special conditions of wind and exceedingly high temperatures.

There was "a temperature of more than 30 degrees, wind of more than 30km per hour and humidity of less than 30 percent," she said.

Narbora insisted that there was "permanent communication" between central government and the socialist regional government in Castilla-La Mancha during the fire on 16 July. However, she admitted that the fact that 11 fire workers died when the blaze got out of hand and surrounded them "makes this fire an urgent moment for changing our response" to fires.

Both national and local politicians have been criticised for their handling of the disaster, with questions asked about whether more resources could have been dedicated to it.

Castilla-La Mancha's environment minister Rosario Arevalo resigned over her part in events.

On Tuesday, at 5.30pm, president José Lluis Rodríguez Zapatero was due to meet 13 mayors from the areas affected by the fire, which destroyed 12,900 hectares of land.

They are to discuss economic and social assistance for the region, including the president's intention to ask parliament to designate it a "disaster zone".

Affected areas could include Anguita, Luzón, Santa María del Espino, Villarejo de Medina, Riba de Saelices, Ablanque, Mazarete, Anquela del Ducado, Selas and Cobeta.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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