Fires in Greece: Swiss emergency deployment completed
Bern, 15.08.2021 - The firefighting operation carried out by Swiss Humanitarian Aid and the Swiss Armed Forces in Greece came to an end on 14 August 2021. The three Super Pumas and their crews, together with the Swiss Humanitarian Aid rapid response team, supported the Greek authorities in the forest fire suppression operations for seven days. In total, Swiss helicopters carried out 226 rotations and dropped more than 386 tonnes of water on the fires.
Super Pumas of the Swiss Armed Forces, which were sent to Greece on 7 August 2021, were deployed on firefighting operations mainly on the island of Euboea and in the Peloponnese. In total they flew 75.5 hours. The emergency deployment was led by Swiss Humanitarian Aid, part of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), in close cooperation with the Swiss Armed Forces and the Greek authorities.
Thanks in part to Swiss support, numerous fires could be extinguished or contained and the property of many people was protected from the flames. This deployment enabled Switzerland to provide rapid, competent assistance where it was urgently needed. The Swiss team, consisting of military personnel, Swiss Air Force specialists and members of the Swiss Armed Forces' engineering/rescue/NBC training unit, as well as members of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit, was warmly thanked by the local authorities.
The pilots and firefighting specialists were supported on the ground by the accompanying ground crew, which took care of the maintenance of the helicopters as well as the coordination with the Greek authorities. Cooperation with those responsible for the operation and the partners in Greece went very smoothly.
Switzerland's emergency deployment followed an official request for support from the Greek authorities. The costs will be covered by existing funds from the FDFA and the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS). Switzerland is continuing to closely monitor the development of the fires in southern Europe and the Balkans. On an ongoing basis it assesses other potential deployments based on requests submitted and the possibilities.
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