Portugal fire survivors describe their escape: ‘This is the end’

Dozens of terrified civilians fled their homes after the forest fires broke out in Portugal and during their escape, they spoke about the difficult scenes. “This is the end. The last thing I told my parents was that I was dying,” a resident said. Many of the survivors are blaming local authorities, claiming that they were left to fight the flames alone for hours.

Footage from Portugal forest fires

Video: Reuters/Channel 2 News | Photo: Reuters/Channel 2 News | Can't see video? - Click Here

At least 62 people have already perished in the massive forest fires blazing throughout central Portugal over the past two days and the government declared six days of mourning. The residents, several of whom are still battling the flames, have many complaints against the local authorities claiming that firefighters had a delayed response to the forest fire and that they were forced to defend themselves with their own supplies for many hours until help arrived.

Other residents pointed out the lack of a fire prevention strategy that lead to the tragedy. In the village of Nodeirinho, 11 residents died while sitting in their cars. They most likely realized that they could not save their homes and attempted to flee for their lives.

Firefighters had a delayed response Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Portuguese TVI television broadcasted footage of several of the village residents who survived the flames and were able to reach the aid center. Some of them were enraged, while others mourned for their loved ones who were left behind. “When I got to the village, I messaged my parents to tell them: ‘I am in a village, fire is all around, this is the end,’” 36-year-old Gareth Roberts, who has lived in central Portugal for the past four years, told BBC news. “I thought: The last thing I told my parents was that I was dying.”

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