The European Commission on Wednesday announced the dispatch of planes, helicopters and firefighters to Italy, Greece, Albania and North Macedonia to help these countries fight the fires. Two Canadair type planes, from France, are sent to the affected areas in Italy, details the European executive in a press release.
Two firefighting planes from Cyprus are providing support to Greece, in addition to a firefighting team tasked with supporting operations on the ground, it said. Sweden, which itself had requested European assistance during an unprecedented wave of forest fires in 2018, also announced on Wednesday afternoon the dispatch of two firefighting planes with their crews, in within the framework of the European system.
Eight planes sent by EU countries and a team of firefighters
Two helicopters intended to support operations in Albania will also be sent by the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, and Slovenia is sending a team of 45 firefighters to North Macedonia, according to the Commission. This aid is mobilized within the framework of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and the Commission covers at least 75% of the costs related to transport.
“We are working around the clock to send aid as fires are raging in Europe,” commented EU Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarcic, thanking the contributing countries. “EU Civil Protection ensures that our existing firefighting tools are used to their full potential. This is a great example of the EU’s solidarity in times of need, ”he said.
Southern Europe ravaged by flames for several days
The EU has already sent three water bombers this week to Turkey, which has suffered the worst fires in a decade. These fires, which killed eight people, devastated forests and agricultural land as well as inhabited areas on the coasts. In Greece, hit for a week by the worst heatwave in three decades, firefighters were fighting several fires on Wednesday, including a major fire north of Athens, where 300 people had to be evacuated on Tuesday evening.
A monastery and a dozen villages were surrounded by flames Wednesday afternoon on the island of Evia, 200 km from Athens, and the fire seemed to be out of control according to firefighters. In Albania, a man was killed Tuesday in a forest fire in the region of Gjirokastrale (south), where hundreds of firefighters and soldiers were fighting dozens of fires.
Support a professional editorial staff at the service of Brittany and the Bretons: subscribe from € 1 per month.