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North entrance of Saint-Leu, Réunion Island
Wikimedia Commons/B Navez
The French government has been criticised by an opposition politician in Paris, for what she says is a slow response to the forest fires in Réunion, an island which is officially part of France, though situated in the Indian Ocean.
Eva Joly, candidate in the next year’s presidential elections for the EELV (Ecology) party, on Sunday slammed what she called the “dramatically inadequate reaction” of the government in Paris as well as local authorities in Réunion.
She called for a public inquiry to find out who was responsible for what she said was a failure to anticipate the fires and respond properly.
The Prefect of Réunion, Michel Lalande, on Monday announced the arrival of five tonnes of equipment and 171 firefighters, making a total number of 400 sent from mainland France since the outbreak of the forest fires.
The teams on the ground said that on Sunday night the situation was not as bad as had been feared and three new minor fires were almost extinguished.
In a preventative measure, 26 homes were evacuated, but their occupants were able to return home this morning.
According to the latest figures, 2 677 hectares have been ravaged by the fire, which began on Tuesday in the Saint Leu National Park, which is a Unesco World Heritage Site.