EU countries have so far mobilized 14 firefighting planes, 3 helicopters, some 1,300 firefighters and 250 vehicles to assist Greece, Albania, North Macedonia and Turkey.

This aid is mobilized within the framework of the civil protection mechanism of the Member States.

The European Commission announced on Monday that it has increased in recent days the sending of planes, helicopters and firefighters to Greece, but also to Albania, North Macedonia and Turkey to help these countries fight against fires. In total, EU countries have so far mobilized 14 firefighting planes, 3 helicopters, some 1,300 firefighters and 250 vehicles to assist these countries, the EU executive said in a statement.

In Greece, 9 planes supplied by France, Sweden, Croatia, Spain and Cyprus, nearly a thousand firefighters and 200 vehicles were deployed.

Several states (France, Germany, Poland, Austria and Slovakia) have indicated over the weekend to prepare to send additional teams of firefighters to Greece where they will join the rescuers already sent by Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Romania and - already France, the Commission said.

"A priority at European level"

This aid, provided by several Member States including France, is mobilized within the framework of the EU civil protection mechanism and the Commission covers at least 75% of the costs linked to transport.

In Italy, two Canadair-type planes, from France, were sent last week to the affected areas.

Two helicopters intended to support operations in Albania were also sent by the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, while Slovenia, Bulgaria and Austria deployed firefighters to North Macedonia.

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The EU has also sent several water bombers for Turkey. The country has suffered the worst fires in a decade, devastating forests, farmlands and coastal areas. In Greece, hit for a week by the worst heat wave in three decades, firefighters were fighting on Monday for the seventh consecutive day against the giant blaze on the island of Evia, 200 km from Athens, where villages are surrounded by flames one after the other.

"We are mobilizing one of the largest EU-wide firefighting plans, to tackle multiple fires raging simultaneously in multiple countries. This shows the need to make crisis response a priority at the level European Commission, ā€¯commented the European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic, thanking the contributing countries.

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