Tue, 09 Aug 2022

ATHENS, July 2 (Xinhua) -- A group of 28 Romanian firefighters was welcomed by Greek authorities in Athens on Saturday during the launch of a European pilot program for forest protection against fire this summer, Greek national news agency AMNA reported.

Under the program, a total of 200 firefighters from six countries across Europe (Bulgaria, France, Germany, Romania, Norway and Finland) will be positioned in Greece this July and August to assist in fire protection efforts and exchange know-how with their Greek colleagues, according to an e-mailed press release of the Ministry for Climate Crisis and Civil Protection.

The program is implemented through the European Civil Protection Mechanism in the wake of last year's destructive wildfires in Greece, which scorched over 100,000 hectares of forestry and farmland and damaged nearly 2,000 houses and businesses.

Romanian firefighters also participated in fire extinguishing efforts in Greece last year.

Addressing an event held at the Hellenic Fire Academy in Athens on Saturday, Greece's Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides said: "We thank you for coming to our country in a difficult summer to give a helping hand and demonstrate with actions that European solidarity is not a theoretical idea, but tangible."

Greece suffers from wildfires every summer due to high temperatures and arsonists. In 2018, 102 people died in the coastal resort of Mati, near Athens, in Greece's worst-ever fire disaster.

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