Greece: Swiss relief operation refocused on flooding
Bern, 07.09.2023 - The Swiss operation to fight forest fires in Greece was completed on Thursday evening, 7 September 2023. The fires were brought under control. The Greek authorities have now appealed to Switzerland to adapt its relief operation to provide assistance to the areas affected by flooding. Switzerland is therefore continuing its humanitarian relief operation and, starting tomorrow, will be the first country to support the Greek authorities in tackling the flooding in the Thessaly region. Three Swiss Armed Forces helicopters have been deployed to transport people and supplies.
Following huge forest fires, Greece is now being battered by heavy rains and flooding. At the request of the Greek authorities, the Swiss team, composed of personnel from the FDFA and the DDPS, is therefore adapting its operations on the ground with immediate effect and is providing personnel and transporting supplies in the Thessaly region, which has been severely affected by the flooding. Switzerland is thereby responding to an official request for assistance from Greece, which it received while the fire-fighting operations were still in progress.
The Swiss team consists, as before, of over 20 members from the professional army corps, primarily the air force, and three experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA), who have been deployed with three Swiss Armed Forces Super Puma helicopters. The operation is being carried out under the auspices of Swiss Humanitarian Aid, which is part of the FDFA, together with the Swiss Armed Forces and in close cooperation with the Greek authorities.
Forest fires successfully contained
Thanks to Swiss support, several fires have been extinguished or contained since last weekend, bringing the situation in the Alexandroupolis area under control. The Swiss team supported the Greek authorities' fire-fighting operations in the Alexandroupolis area in north-eastern Greece with three Super Puma helicopters over a period of five days. Thanks to the successful fire-fighting efforts and lower temperatures in some areas, the fires are now under control. The three helicopters logged a total of 24 flying hours during the operation, dropping approximately 250,000 litres of water on the forest fires.
The local authorities expressed their sincere thanks to the Swiss team for its rapid response and support. The new operation in Greece is expected to continue until Sunday 10 September 2023, with the Swiss team due to return on Monday.
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