In a special ceremony Thursday evening, President Nicos Anastasiades thanked the Cypriot firefighting mission deployed to Greece last month for going “above and beyond,” adding that their dedication made all of Cyprus proud.
“I wish to tell you that I become emotional on hearing the flattering words spoken about those who volunteered to go to Greece. Both for their professionalism and their high level of training,” he said, addressing the team that had spent more than a week battling the flames engulfing Greece last month.
“On many occasions you overcame your own fears, going above and beyond. And that is why the state and the people honour you, and are grateful to you,” he said.
“First and foremost, your efforts have honoured our country, but also underscored the importance of selfless service and solidarity to the brotherly Greek nation.”
The team sent to Greece included 20 volunteers from the civil defence, 20 firefighters and four plane operators, as well as ground operators by the forestry department.
Turning to the future, Anastasiades noted that the fire department and the forestry department have invited tenders for the acquisition of additional heavy vehicles through to 2022.
Meantime the forestry department is planning to purchase or lease two more firefighting aircraft.
Greece’s worst heatwave in three decades contributed to some 586 fires across the country in the span of two weeks, burning more than 93,600 hectares of forest and farmland.