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EU mobilises assistance for forest fires in the Mediterranean

EU mobilises assistance for forest fires in the Mediterranean
09 August 2021

The EU Civil Protection Mechanism continues to channel support to help combat unprecedented forest fires in Greece and the rest of the Mediterranean. Following requests from Greece, North Macedonia, Albania, Italy and Turkey, the European Union has now helped mobilise 14 firefighting planes, 3 helicopters, some 1,300 rescuers and 250 vehicles.

In Greece alone, 9 planes, close to 1,000 firefighters and 200 vehicles are currently being deployed. The latest offers over the weekend came from France, Germany, Poland, Austria and Slovakia, who are sending ground firefighting units. They will join forces already operating in the country: ground firefighting units from Cyprus, France, Czechia and Romania as well as planes from Cyprus, Sweden, France, Croatia and Spain.

This comes in addition to help already deployed last week to help fight forest fires in Italy, Albania and North Macedonia:

  • Two Canadair firefighting airplanes from France were sent to affected areas in Italy.
  • Two helicopters to support operations in Albania were equally dispatched from Czechia and the Netherlands.
  • Ground forces from Slovenia, Bulgaria and Austria were deployed to help North Macedonia. On Saturday, Romania sent an additional plane.
  • Ongoing EU-coordinated firefighting operations in Turkey.

In addition, the EU's emergency Copernicus satellite is helping to provide damage assessment maps of the affected areas in North Macedonia and Greece.

The European Union's 24/7 Emergency Response Coordination Centre is in regular contact with the relevant national authorities to closely monitor the situation and channel the EU assistance.

The EU Civil Protection Mechanism strengthens cooperation between the EU Member States and 6 Participating States in the field of civil protection, with a view to improve prevention, preparedness and response to disasters. When the scale of an emergency overwhelms the response capabilities of a country, it can request assistance via the Mechanism.

Image © European Commission, 2021

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