In response to wildfires raging across Greece, on 23 July Egypt’s Armed Forces sent three Chinook helicopters in aerial support to reinforce Greece in its fight against the ravaging wildfires.
The wildfires first erupted on the island of Rhodes on 18 July as a result of a record-breaking heatwave. Firefighters have been battling the raging fires in a race against time.
Egyptian Armed Forces spokesperson Gharib Abdel Hafez stated on his official Facebook page that the helicopters are equipped with state-of-the-art tools and equipment that can provide much-needed aid to the Greek authorities.
So far, thousands of tourists as well as citizens evacuate their homes and hotels. The damage has reached a handful of hotels, but according to the Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection in Greece, no injuries have been reported.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotatakis tweeted on 23 July: “I want to express our gratitude to Egypt for sending three firefighting helicopters to reinforce our efforts in the fight against forest fires. Thank you Egypt!”
A record-breaking heatwave has been looming over the Mediterranean for the past two weeks, with wildfires erupting in Spain’s Canary Islands as well.
On 16 July, climate scientists in the European Space Agency (ESA) told CNN that ‘temperatures could reach 48 degrees Celsius“, which potentially could be the highest temperature ever recorded in Europe.
As for Greece, this is by far the longest heatwave on record in its history. Temperatures are forecast to go over 40 degrees Celsius. The Mediterranean country’s National Weather Institute warned Greek citizens that the heatwave could go on for 16-17 consecutive days.
In addition to Egypt, Turkey, France, and Italy sent Greece aid. Despite the international community’s solidarity with Greece, the fires are spreading further, exacerbated by strong winds.
Another wildfire broke on Sunday on Evia, Greece’s second largest island. The residents of four villages were asked to hastily evacuate to escape the advancing fire. The island of Corfu has had a number of raging fires that required citizens to evacuate as well.