Swiss aid operation in Greece concluded

Bern, 11.09.2023 - The Swiss deployment to fight forest fires and support Greece after the floods came to an end on Sunday evening, 10 September 2023. In the initial phase, the team supported the Greek authorities in fire-fighting operations for five days with Swiss army helicopters. In the second phase, the team focused on the flooded areas of central Greece. Three Super Puma helicopters were used to transport people and distribute material. Today, Monday, the helicopters and their crews as well as the Swiss Humanitarian Aid rapid response team returned to Switzerland.

The three Super Puma helicopters deployed to Greece on 2 September 2023 initially carried out fire-fighting operations in the Alexandroupolis area in north-eastern Greece, and were subsequently deployed to assist in the flood-affected region of Thessaly from Friday, at the request of the Greek authorities. Thanks to Swiss support, several fires were extinguished or contained, bringing the situation in the Alexandroupolis area under control. In the fire-fighting operation, around 270 tonnes of water were used during 27 flying hours. In the subsequent flood relief operation in the Thessaly region, 36 flood victims and aid workers were transported and six tonnes of material distributed in 23 flying hours.

The Swiss intervention team consisted of 23 members of the Swiss Armed Forces (mainly the air force) and three specialists from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit. The operation was 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.

On a visit to Alexandroupolis, the Greek president, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, thanked the entire Swiss team for all their efforts. Switzerland's deployment was in response to official requests for assistance from the Greek authorities. The helicopters and the Swiss team returned to Switzerland today, Monday.

For further information:

FDFA Communication
Federal Palace West Wing
CH-3003 Bern
Tel. press service: +41 58 460 55 55
Twitter: @EDA_DFAE

Swiss Armed Forces media information
Urs Müller
Head of operational communication
Tel. +41 58 464 05 42

Address for enquiries

FDFA Communication
Federal Palace West Wing
CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland
Tel. Press service: +41 58 460 55 55
Twitter: @SwissMFA


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports

General Secretariat DDPS