Cyprus Mail

Cyprus firefighters returning from Greece on Friday (update 2)


The remaining 35 members of the Cypriot firefighting mission sent to Greece to help battle the wildfires are expected to return to the island on Friday as most blazes were put under control.

Civil Defence spokeswoman Olivia Michaelidou told the Cyprus News Agency that the Cypriot crews will depart from the Elefsinas military airport aboard a C130, a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft at around 7am on Friday.

“All 35 members of the mission are returning to Cyprus with the two fire trucks of the Fire Service,” she said.

The crews, who arrived in Greece last Wednesday, “feel exhausted, after a week of daily and long operations, but very satisfied with their action,” the spokeswoman added.

On Thursday, the general secretariat for civil protection welcomed the members of the Cypriot delegation at 12pm, at its offices in Athens, to thank them for the valuable assistance they offered to the giant effort to extinguish the devastating fires.

The meeting was attended by the Ambassador of Cyprus to Greece Kyriakos Kenevezos, Michaelidou said.

On behalf of the Greek state, Deputy Civil Protection Minister for Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias thanked the Cypriot mission for their assistance. He also wished a speedy recovery for the firefighter who suffered a slight shin fracture, Kettis tweeted later in the day.

President Nicos Anastasiades also expressed gratitude for the team’s work on Thursday.

In a tweet, the president said he had contacted the Assistant Chief Fire Officer Demetris Katsiflis who leads the 20 firefighters send to Greece and Chrysilios Chrysiliou, head of the Cypriot 20-member civil defence mission in Greece to express his “gratitude for their assistance in extinguishing the fires”.

Meanwhile, five team members, including the injured firefighter, arrived on the island late on Wednesday.

Chrysiliou had said the previous day that the situation has “certainly improved,” but also urged caution over the possibility of serious flare-ups

Cyprus had also sent two forestry department firefighting aircraft which were operating in Mani on Wednesday.

According to the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), more than 93,600 hectares of forest and farmland were destroyed after some 586 fires started across Greece in the span of two weeks.

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