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Wildfires: EU provides crucial assistance to the Mediterranean region

As several countries grapple with rapidly spreading wildfires, the EU steps in to reinforce firefighting efforts and provide much-needed support to the affected communities with over 490 firefighters and nine firefighting planes deployed to Greece and Tunisia since 18 July.

The two Mediterranean countries have activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and the EU has swiftly replied. 10 countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Italy, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Serbia) are contributing to the EU Civil Protection Mechanism’s response to the wildfires in Greece. In total, over 490 firefighters and seven planes have been deployed to different areas of the country. One EU Liaison Officer is supporting the coordination of operations in Greece and the EU’s Copernicus satellite mapping is providing damage assessment on several areas in the Attica region and Rhodes.

In addition, two Canadairs from the rescEU reserve hosted by Spain are being deployed to northwest Tunisia.

Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič said: “The wildfires ravaging the Mediterranean region require an immediate and united response. The European Union, through its Civil Protection Mechanism, stands in full solidarity with and readiness to support the affected countries. Together, we are deploying available resources to fight the fires and protect our citizens and landscapes. I would also like to express my heartfelt sympathy and support to the families and colleagues of the two Greek firefighters who lost their lives yesterday when their firefighting plane crashed on the Greek island of Evia. This is the worst reminder of how first responders put their lives in danger to save others and our environment.”

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The wildfires, fuelled by dry weather conditions and high temperatures are posing a severe threat to lives, livelihoods, and ecosystems across the Mediterranean. In response, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism shows once again that it is a key instrument of solidarity and cooperation among EU member states and beyond, during emergencies.

More details are available in the press release online.

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