Paraguay declares emergency as wildfires spread | Hindustan Times
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Paraguay declares emergency as wildfires spread

Paraguay declared a national state of emergency as wildfires have burned more than 600,000 hectares of forest land.

world Updated: Sep 13, 2007 17:21 IST

Paraguay declared a national state of emergency as wildfires have burned more than 600,000 hectares of forest and agricultural land.

The government would release as much as $1.8 million in emergency aid for victims of the blazes, which have burned for days in northern Paraguay, President Nicanor Duarte Frutos said Wednesday in Asuncion while declaring the emergency.

Paraguay has also rented a Russian fire-fighting plane for $1 million, the president said.

The Ilyushin plane can carry 40,000 litres of water per flight and was expected to be deployed for about five days, the Ultima Hora newspaper reported.

The fires are burning in the departments of Concepcion, San Pedro, Amambay and Canindeyu. Amambay and Canindeyu have important national parks containing endangered plants and animals.

Many of the fires have been blamed on land clearing by peasant farmers, a common practice in Paraguay. They were spreading rapidly because of a long-time drought, and meteorologists estimated that rain would come to the fire areas in 20 days at the earliest.

Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela have pledged help to Paraguay fight the fires.

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