R335 million released to put out Amazon Rainforest fires

Posted on 26 August 2019

On the final day of the 45th G7 Summit (24–26 August), the international Group of Seven agreed to ‘release’ $22-million (about R335 million) towards relief efforts to put out the flames of the still-raging fires in South America’s Amazon Rainforest.

fire, forest

Image: Unsplash

The announcement came from a joint statement by French President Emmanuel Macron and President of Chile Sebastiàn Piñera, who was invited with a few other non-G7 dignitaries, to attend the Summit with the six other heads of state from Germany, Canada, Italy Japan, the UK and USA. As viral footage of the fire’s thick smoke made headlines and stirred up an international frenzy on social media last week, Macron was reported as referring to the situation as an ‘international crisis’.

In addition to the funds which are to be made available ‘immediately’, namely to fund fighter planes which will attempt to douse the flames with water, The Guardian reported that G7 leaders also actioned a longer-term initiative to battling the flames and issues surrounding deforestation, a contentious topic in the wildfire saga. The BBC reports that reforestation of the Amazon will be on the agenda for the upcoming United Nations general assembling meeting in September.

While other leaders rally troops and pledge their support, Brazilian leader Jair Bolsonaro has been criticised for his apathy towards matters on climate change as well as his support of cattle ranches and development in the Amazon region to drive the economy. On Sunday 25 August Bolsonaro finally deployed Brazilian warplanes with water and firefighters to begin combatting the flames, which have been especially concentrated in the Samba nation among other countries on the continent.

The Earth Alliance organisation, backed by actor and environmental humanitarian Leonardo DiCaprio, has also pledged $5-million (R76 million) towards relief.

Macron, who hosts the summit on behalf of France in the town of Biarritz on the coast, has also pledged to send French militia to the region to assist with relief efforts.

Not all G7 leaders are as enthused about climate crisis, however, as US President Donald Trump reportedly ‘skipped’ the G7 session dedicated to climate change.

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