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Amazon fires scorch Bolsonaro's reputation abroad, but not in Brazil

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on August 30, 2019 - Duration: 01:57s

Amazon fires scorch Bolsonaro's reputation abroad, but not in Brazil

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro may have drawn sharp criticism on the international stage for his handling of the wildfires raging in the Amazon, but at home the crisis may have fueled his government's popularity.

Anna Bevan reports.

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Amazon fires scorch Bolsonaro's reputation abroad, but not in Brazil

**EDITORS PLEASE NOTE THIS IS BEING RESENT TO UPDATE SCRIPT** Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro may have drawn sharp criticism on the international stage for his handling of the wildfires raging in the Amazon, but at home the crisis may have fueled his government's popularity.

An opinion poll out this week found that almost 60 percent of Brazilians considered Bolsonaro's government to have done a great, good, or normal job.

With many sharing their leader's aversion to what they see as foreign meddling in Brazilian affairs.

However, another poll published on Monday offered conflicting results - showing the right-wing President's approval rating to have plunged from 38.9% in February to 29.4% in August .

A surge this year in the number of fires in what is often dubbed the "lungs of the world" has sparked international outrage.

And protests in front of Brazilian embassies.

Environmentalists claim most of the fires were started deliberately by land speculators and farmers - something Bolsonaro denies.

But the former army captain has drawn criticism in Congress for taking too long to act in tackling the fires.

And for wasting time on a slinging match with French President Emmanuel Macron over an international aid package.

More than 70,000 fires have been detected so far this year by Brazil's space research center.

It's the highest number since 2010.

Indigenous tribes living in the Amazon say they've been left to fend for themselves after the area's fire brigade service was cut.

Carrying a water container fashioned into a backpack, tribal youths go out in small groups to prevent fires from spreading.

The global outcry over the fires and Bolsonaro's environmental policies have damaged Brazil's image abroad, And that could take its toll on the country's economy and consequently the president's popularity.

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