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As flames engulfed the Portuguese municipality of Pedrógão Grande on 17 June 2017, and its 2,000 or so residents found themselves surrounded by the fast-moving fire, their immediate reaction might have been to escape. But 47 of the 64 people killed in Portugal’s worst-ever fire disaster died on the main road, which authorities failed to cut off on time. It is now referred to as the ‘Road of Death’.
Nadia Piazza, president of the Association for Victims Affected by the Wildfires, lost her five-year-old son in the June tragedy. She condemns the government for a catalogue of errors including what she considers a slow emergency response and the failure to prevent the loss of life.
“There is nothing the state can do to make up for losing my son. It’s too late."
“It was a miracle [that I survived],” says Eduarda Lourenço, who lives in Cimo das Vinhas in the municipality of Pedrógão Grande.