EU mobilises further support against devastating fires in Greece

Written by on July 25, 2018 in Europe - Comments Off on EU mobilises further support against devastating fires in Greece

European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides arrived in Athens on July 24 to coordinate the EU assistance being provided to Greece through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism following the deadly fires, the European Commission said.

Stylianides announced that Italy and Romania have now sent four aircraft and ground forces from Cyprus started operating yesterday.

Offers of assistance to Greece through the Mechanism were also made by Spain, Bulgaria, Croatia, Portugal, Malta and Montenegro, the Commission said in its July 25 statement.

Stylianides was scheduled to meet Greek Prime Minister Tsipras and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, leader of the opposition, on July 25 as well as visit the affected areas and coordinate the EU’s support on the ground.

Stylianides said: “Here in Athens I have met Minister Nikos Toskas to exchange information on developments. I reiterated that the EU will continue to do all it takes to help the Greek people and authorities in this heart-breaking situation. We are all in this together.

“It is a day of grief, but together, as Europeans, we are determined to decisively combat these fires.  Through our EU Civil Protection Mechanism, we have helped mobilise planes, vehicles, medical personnel and firefighters.

“We had further offers last night and I thank all countries that have offered support. The priority must continue to be to help those affected for as long as it takes.”

The EU’s Copernicus satellite system has also been activated to provide the authorities with highly specialised maps.

On July 25, the Independent Balkan News Agency reported that the effort to extinguish the most disastrous wildfires Attica has seen in decades continued on Wednesday morning in Kineta (west Attica) and the Geraneia Mountains (east Attica). Authorities said many people are still reported missing and there are fears that the death toll could rise further.

The government announced a series of measures on Tuesday to help those affected by the devastating fires, while Tsipras addressed the nation in a televised statement, declaring a three-day mourning.

(Photo, of flags at half-mast at the EC’s Berlaymont headquarters in Brussels, in sympathy with the victims of the fires in Greece: EC Audiovisual Service)

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