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Tourists tell of Portugal wildfire drama

Friday, August 12, 2016 - 01:32

Tourists describe the outbreak of wildfires on the island of Madeira which killed four people and destroyed more than 200 buildings. Paul Chapman reports.

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The wildfires which swept through the Portuguese holiday island of Madeira and on the mainland killed four people. More than 200 homes and other buildings have been destroyed. German tourists leaving the island on Thursday described the drama as the fire headed their way. (SOUNDBITE)(English) GERMAN TOURIST SUZANNE BENZ SAYING: "We saw the smoke coming nearer and nearer and the sun went red, really bloody red and you couldn't see other buildings over the street, it was just like fog. You couldn't see anything at all. I got very very scared and my son too." Portugal's prime minister was visiting the worst-hit areas of Madeira on Thursday. About 260 people remained in makeshift shelters but the regional government said all tourists were either back at their hotels or transferred to other ones. (SOUNDBITE)(Portuguese) PORTUGUESE PRIME MINISTER ANTONIO COSTA SAYING: "Now we have to move to the next phase - to rebuild what's been destroyed, return to normality, and rebuild confidence in Madeira as a major and safe tourism destination." Thousands of firefighters have struggled to contain nearly 200 forest fires on Madeira and the mainland. Police say some were started deliberately and that several suspects have been arrested.

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Tourists tell of Portugal wildfire drama

Friday, August 12, 2016 - 01:32