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France Sends Rescuers, Firefighters, Tons of Equipment to Assist Greece

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France responded to Greece’s request for fire assistance very swiftly. Credit: Sécurité Civile / Twitter

France is sending a large number of firefighters, rescuers, and a massive load of equipment to Greece, it was made public on Wednesday night.

This gesture comes as a result of France’s desire to assist the country in its uneven fight against the multiple wildfire fronts, following the official request that Greece filed on Tuesday night to the European Civil Protection Mechanism.

According to the French Civil Protection Agency, 40 rescuers have been already sent to Greece to help combat the fire on Evia. Additionally, France will make eight tons of firefighting equipment available to the Greek authorities as well.

Greece’s state-run AMNA news agency reported on Thursday that a total of 81 firefighters from France will be in Greece by the afternoon.

Two firefighting aircraft from Sweden will also join the fight in Greece, as the country continues to struggle with fires on Evia and Olympia in the western Peloponnese.

Sweden responded swiftly to Greece’s request for help in putting out the fires ravaging the country, sending two air tractor “Fire Bosses” on Wednesday.

These aircraft drop water on forest fires in order to drown them.

Apart from France, Cyprus has already sent significant help to Greece

Greece’s fraternal nation of Cyprus has already sent a great deal of help to the country in order to help quench the fires.

A C-130 military aircraft, which can be fitted with a modular airborne firefighting system in order to be used as a water drop aircraft during forest fires, was sent to Greece by Cyprus on Wednesday. Traveling on the aircraft were 20 firefighters, two fire trucks, and 20 members of a civil defense squad with personal equipment.

The firefighting mission departed from Larnaca, Cyprus, and landed at Elefsina airport outside of Athens at noon.

European solidarity in times of need

For more than 20 years now, the European Civil Protection Mechanism has been trying to coordinate emergency responses across the EU when a member state needs help due to a natural disaster or an emergency.

Once activated, the EU channels the offers of assistance made available by its member states through the Emergency Response Coordination Centre.

For the 2021 forest fire season, the European Commission co-financed the stand-by availability of a “RescEU” firefighting fleet to address potential shortcomings in responding to forest fires.

Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, and Sweden helped Brussels, assembling 11 firefighting aircraft and six helicopters at the disposal of other EU Member States in case of an emergency in exchange for a financial contribution to the standby costs of these capacities.

We might still be in the middle of the Summer, but Europe has had a series of devastating forest fires already.


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