The European Commission's Emergency Response Coordination Centre is working around the clock and is in constant contact with the authorities of Greece, Sweden, and Latvia, which have all requested EU support following the unprecedented forest fires that are raging across Europe.
More than 50 people have died due to the forest fires in the Greece. Yesterday evening Greece requested EU support through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. In an immediate response, Cyprus, Spain and Bulgaria made swift offers of assistance, which included planes, firefighters, medics, and vehicles.
Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides will travel to Athens today where he will meet the Greek civil protection authorities and coordinate the EU's assistance already on its way. In a statement, Commissioner Stylianides said:
"Today is a day of great sorrow for Greece and for all of Europe. The EU stands with the Greek people in solidarity at this difficult time.
Let me express our condolences to the families and friends of the victims of these devastating fires that have caused so much suffering and a tragic loss of life.
I spoke with Prime Minister Tsipras yesterday night and I am in constant contact with him in order to offer the Commission's full support to the Greek authorities and people.
At this stage, I would like to thank Cyprus, Spain and Bulgaria who have already made immediate offers of concrete assistance through our EU Civil Protection Mechanism: planes, firefighters, medics and vehicles.
Together we are working 24/7 to help the brave first responders and emergency services working tirelessly to help those in need."
In Sweden, EU support continues with planes, firefighters, and vehicles, already operating in the affected areas.
For Latvia, the EU's Copernicus Satellite system has been activated to assist the national authorities with emergency mapping of the risk areas. The Commission, through the Emergency Response Coordination Centre, is in constant contact with the states participating in the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to provide all possible further assistance.