Cabinet on Monday sought to crunch down on combating and responding to fires, ahead of the dangerous summer season. To begin with, the agriculture ministry’s permanent secretary will now have the role of coordinating existing plans and prepare for future meetings that can help the government prepare ahead.

“Mechanisms and plans on tackling fires exist. What we are trying to do today is to activate these mechanisms more promptly,” government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis told reporters after the session.

He explained the issue at hand is that Cyprus has a number of action plans, concerning preventing and tackling fires, and the aim at the moment is to have a specific person that can coordinate all the action plans.

The next step will see the ministers of agriculture, defence, justice, and interior schedule meetings with relevant departments which fall under their wing, and present concrete suggestions to the agriculture ministry’s permanent secretary.

“This will allow us to implement and evaluate existing plans we have,” the spokesman said.

Beyond the immediate measures that need to be taken for this summer season, it is necessary to create a holistic mid-term and long-term plan that can prevent and combat fires, Letymbiotis added. “This needs society’s involvement too.”

Asked about when new firefighting aircraft will arrive, he specified a relevant committee has been established and when the time comes, they will decide whether they should be received or not.

Monday’s meeting was headed by President Nikos Christodoulides, in the presence of the justice, defence, agriculture, interior ministers, as well as the undersecretary to the president and the president’s advisor on matters concerning civil defence and security.