Forest fires in Sardinia: EU mobilises immediate assistance to Italy
26 July 2021, EU: In response to Italy’s request for assistance through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to help in the fight against the ongoing wildfires in Sardinia, the EU is mobilising immediate support from France and Greece.
Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, said: “I thank France and Greece for this prompt solidarity shown with Italy to help put out the devastating fires. The EU’s 24/7 Emergency Response Coordination Centre remains in close contact with the Italian authorities to monitor developments on the ground and coordinate any further assistance as needed.”
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France and Greece are deploying two aerial forest firefighting planes (Canadair) each. The planes offered by France come from the European Civil Protection Pool, whereas the ones offered by Greece are part of the rescEU assets.
The wildfires have hit the area of Montiferru, in the centre-west of the island following high temperatures. Initial reports indicate that over 4,000 hectares have been burnt and 355 people evacuated.
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.