Brazil accepts planes from Chile to fight Amazon fires

PORTO VELHO, Brazil (AP) — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro today said he has accepted four planes from Chile to help fight Amazon fires, and he accused the French president of portraying himself as "the one and only person" concerned about the environment.

In criticizing French leader Emmanuel Macron, Bolsonaro extended a personal dispute that has, for now, sidelined a pledge of $20 million from the Group of Seven nations to help protect Amazon rainforest.

Amazon nations, excluding Venezuela, will meet in September "to come up with our own unified strategy for preserving the environment, and also for exploration sustainable in our region," Bolsonaro said after meeting Chilean President Sebastián Piñera in Brasilia, the Brazilian capital.

Countries in Latin America that contain Amazon rainforest "have sovereignty over the Amazon, that needs to be recognized always," Piñera said.

About 60 percent of the Amazon region is in Brazil. The vast Amazon also includes Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana, an overseas region of France.

Lingering smoke in the Amazon, meanwhile, is reportedly causing increased respiratory problems – particularly among children and the elderly – as fires in the region rage.

"The kids are affected the most. They're coughing a lot," said Elane Diaz, a nurse in the Rondonia state capital of Porto Velho, as she waited for a doctor's appointment Tuesday at the city's 9 of July hospital with her 5-year-old son Eduardo. "They have problems breathing. I'm concerned because it affects their health."

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