Lebanon has activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to assist in efforts to stop the spread of forest fires as up to 100 active fires have been reported in the country. In an immediate response, the EU has mobilised 6 firefighting planes: 4 of which are rescEU aircraft, 2 from Italy and 2 from Greece, as well as 2 planes sent from Cyprus via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, which are already operating.
“The EU stands in solidarity with Lebanon. I thank our Member States for their assistance and solidarity. Our thoughts are with the brave first responders and all those affected by these devastating fires” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides who spoke and is in contact with the Minister of Interior of Lebanon, Ms Raya Haffar El-Hassan, to express EU’s solidarity and support.
The European Union’s 24/7 Emergency Response Coordination Centre has also activated the Copernicus emergency satellite mapping for the affected areas and is monitoring the situation. In addition, an EU Liaison Officer will be deployed to Lebanon to support the operation. rescEU is the EU’s new strengthened response system to natural disasters, which includes a reserve of firefighting planes and helicopters. It is capable of immediate assistance in the EU and beyond. This is the second official deployment of rescEU assets after Greece last August.