European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides is in Athens to coordinate European Union’s assistance to Greece through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism following the wildfires around Athens that killed at least 80 people, left more than187 injured, with at least one hundred more still missing.
According to Brussels, Italy and Romania have now sent four planes and fire brigade personnel from Cyprus have also taken part in operations to rescue civilians and fight the wildfires. Offers of assistance have also come from Spain, Bulgaria, Croatia, Portugal, Malta, and Montenegro after Greece activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism on Monday.
“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,” said Stylianides prior to a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. The Commissioner is expected to meet the leader of the opposition, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, as well and visit the affected areas that have suffered extensive damage.
“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,” added the Commissioner.
The EU’s Copernicus satellite system has been activated and is already assisting rescuers with the production of highly specialised thematic maps.