The European Commission announced late on Sunday that Cyprus activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism on 3 July 2021, requesting support to tackle forest fires in the Limassol district. The EU now deploys immediate assistance to help Cyprus contain devastating forest fires.
According to the Commission, responding immediately, the EU has rapidly mobilised rescEU aerial fire-fighting assets hosted by Greece and Italy. Firefighting planes have already departed from Greece, while deployment arrangements with Italy are ongoing.
Welcoming the rapid deployment of rescEU assets, European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič said: “The EU stands in full solidarity with Cyprus during these difficult moments. European support is already on its way. I am thankful to Greece and Italy for their rapid reaction and their tangible solidarity. Our thoughts are with all those affected and with the first responders who are risking their lives to battle the fires. We stand ready to provide further assistance.”
In addition, the EU`s emergency Copernicus satellite is being activated to provide damage assessment maps of the affected areas.
The European Union`s 24/7 Emergency Response Coordination Centre is in constant contact with the Cyprus authorities to closely monitor the developments and provide any further assistance as necessary.
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism strengthens cooperation between and among Member States and Participating States in the field of civil protection, with a view to improving prevention, preparedness and response to disasters. Through the Mechanism, the European Commission plays a key role in coordinating the response to disasters in Europe and beyond.
When the scale of an emergency overwhelms the response capabilities of a country, it can request assistance via the Mechanism. Once activated, the Mechanism coordinates assistance made available by its Participating States through spontaneous offers. In addition, the EU has created the European Civil Protection Pool to have a critical number of readily available civil protection capacities allowing for a stronger and coherent collective response. Should the emergency require additional, life-saving assistance, the rescEU reserve can be sent as a matter of last resort.
To date, all EU Member States participate in the Mechanism, as well as Iceland, Norway, Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Turkey. Since its inception in 2001, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism has responded to over 420 requests for assistance inside and outside the EU.