Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro hinted on Wednesday that NGOs may have caused the fires that are currently affecting the Amazon to "draw attention"on the suspension by Brasilia of subsidies for the preservation of"lung of the planet".
"It could be, yes, it could, but I do not affirm it, criminal actions of these + + ONGéistes + to draw attention against my person, against the Brazilian government. This is the war we are facing", the head of state told reporters outside his official residence in Brasilia.
Forest fires have increased 83% since the beginning of this year in Brazil compared to the whole of 2018, said Tuesday an official institute. The rise was particularly alarming in the states wholly or partly occupied by the Amazon rainforest, like that of Mato Grosso (center-west), with 13,682 fire starts, an increase of 87% compared to the whole of 2018. .
It was not possible to assess Wednesday the extent of areas affected by wildfires in the Amazon, while circulating videos on social networks showing entire areas of forest devoured by curtains of flame.
Jair Bolsonaro has not provided any evidence to support his serious involvement of NGOs, but explained that these "feel the lack of money", after the suspension of funding allocated to the preservation of the Amazon rainforest.
"Money has been taken out of NGOs. They received 40% of the grants coming from abroad. They do not have them anymore. Public subsidies also ended"to NGOs," he explained.
"The fire, apparently, took in strategic locations", he continued.Even you could not go filming in all places where it burns, and send (your videos) abroad"he told reporters."Because everything indicates that they went there to film fires. That's what I feel".
Fires in Amazonia are usually caused by slash-and-burn clearings used to convert forest areas into crop and livestock areas or to clear previously deforested areas, usually during the dry season that ends in two months.
Jair Bolsonaro is the target of an avalanche of criticism from scientists, conservation NGOs in the Amazon and indigenous populations for his support to the development of economic activity, particularly agriculture and mining, in protected areas.
The two main contributors to the Amazon Fund, Norway and Germany, have recently announced that they will suspend their grants to this fund, which helps finance the preservation of the forest, because of the positions of the Brazilian president.