Lisbon: More than 1,000 firefighters are battling a major wildfire in central Portugal for a third day that has already injured 31 people. The country’s Civil Protection Agency says 321 vehicles and five water-dumping aircraft are also at the blaze Monday. The flames have raced through thick woodlands in the Castelo Branco district, 200 kilometers (about 125 miles) northeast of Lisbon, the capital. Cooler night temperatures helped emergency services get the upper hand over the fire, but authorities say they expect heat and winds to build in the afternoon. Forests are tinder-dry after weeks with little rain. Summer wildfires are a common occurrence in Portugal, where poor forest management and climate change make woodlands vulnerable. In 2017, at least 106 people were killed by wildfires in an especially difficult year for Portugal.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) gave the Jacques Diouf Award to the EU for its ‘EU Food Facility,’ an initiative that has benefited more than 59 million people in 49 developing countries by improving agricultural production of small farmers in response to high food prices.The EU shares the award with the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) from India, which is being honoured for its innovative efforts to lift extremely poor women out of poverty and hunger, FAO said in a news release.The Guardian global development team received the Boerma Award “for its reporting on agriculture, food security and poverty, with emphasis on progress made towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals,” FAO said. The award is presented biennially to a journalist or a group of journalists who have helped to focus public attention on the world food problem. The Edouard Saouma Award, which is presented to an institution that has efficiently implemented a project funded by FAO’s Technical Cooperation Programme, was awarded to the Kenya Forest Service for its sustainable livelihood development project in the Mau forest complex, the largest indigenous montane forest in East Africa.The Organización del Sector Pesquero y Acuícola del Istmo Centroamericano won the Margarita Lizárraga Medal 2012-2013 for its significant contribution to sustainable fisheries and aquaculture development and to the practical application of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries in the Central American countries.FAO also recognized outstanding contributions by three of its field officers, who received B.S. Sen Awards: FAO project manager David Doolan kept FAO operations going through difficult conditions in Pakistan; senior officer Patrick Durst was recognized for his 19-year career in the Asia-Pacific region; and emergency coordinator Luca Alinovi implemented innovative approaches to upscale operations in famine-torn Somalia.The awards will be presented on 15 June at the start of the 38th FAO Conference, the agency’s governing body.
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