World

EU continues to deliver aid to Algeria, Italy to fight forest fires

August 12, 2021

BRUSSELS — The European Union Thursday announced that France has mobilized two Canadair-type firefighting planes to help Algeria fight forest fires in the north and northeast of the country, following a request for assistance submitted to the EU civil protection on Wednesday.

The planes will be deployed in the Kabylia region Thursday, said a European Commission press release, noting that the Commission co-finances up to 75 percent of the transport costs of the deployment.

After completing their deployment in Greece, three other French Canadair will be redeployed to Italy, following Italy's request for air support to fight forest fires in the country. In addition, the EU is continuing its firefighting operations in Greece, Albania and North Macedonia.

Janez Lenarcic, EU Commissioner for Crisis Management said the EU stands in solidarity with all countries fighting forest fires at this difficult time.

"Unprecedented high temperatures further complicate conditions in many countries. European aid was quickly mobilized and I thank France for its solidarity with Algeria and Italy. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims, those affected and the frontline responders fighting the wildfire," he added.

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 mobilize 14 firefighting planes, 3 helicopters, some 1,300 rescuers and 250 vehicles.

In Greece alone, 9 planes, close to 1,000 fire fighters 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:

Lenarcic said: "We are mobilizing one of Europe's biggest ever common firefighting operations as multiple fires affect several countries simultaneously. This shows the need to priorities crisis response also at European level.

The EU stands in full solidarity with Greece, North Macedonia, Albania, Italy and Turkey, at this difficult time. I am very thankful to all the countries who have offered help for their tangible solidarity. Our thoughts are with all those affected and with the first responders who are risking their lives to battle the fires.”

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. — Agencies


August 12, 2021
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