Greece: the military began to help firefighters

The military was mobilized Thursday morning (?!) to assist the fire brigade as several firefronts spiraled out of control, burning thousands of hectares of forest and destroying homes, businesses, and farmland.

At a press briefing, Minister of National Defense Nikos Panagiotopoulos talked about how the military will help prevent wildfires, “given the critical situation in the coming days at the forefront.”

The decision to actively engage the military was made at a meeting with civilian and military leaders on Thursday morning. The minister said that particular attention will be paid to monitoring high-risk areas throughout the country: from the air using all available aircraft and on the ground with intensive and continuous military patrols.

The chief of the Greek General Staff, Konstantinos Floros, referred to measures already being taken by the armed forces in this direction. He said that the number of patrols will be increased, as well as aerial surveillance using both manned aircraft and drones. According to him, if necessary, the evacuation of people will also be provided with equipment and personnel of the country’s armed forces.

Floros also noted that all requests made by the General Secretariat of Civil Protection have been met, and in recent days he has provided 500 military personnel, 63 vehicles, 39 helicopters and firefighting aircraft, as well as drones to monitor fire victims and at risk. ignition of regions.

It is worth noting that in Greece until now there were at least 2 plans: the first Ξενοκράτης (participation of the Armed Forces in natural disastersx), which was adopted 25 years ago, and its updated version Δευκαλίωνadopted 15 years ago.

But to this day, none of these plans have actually been put into effect. The participation of the military during the extinguishing of fires in past years has never been implemented in accordance with these plans, despite the fact that the situation has already become critical several times.

What is it worth, for example, Statement by Defense Minister Panos Kammenos during the fire in Mati that NATO had banned them from using the military to help the population.

Asked by a BBC reporter why the army did not immediately come to the aid of the population, Kammenos said: “We have a responsibility to follow NATO’s schedule. Our armed forces cannot operate at the same time as civil protection, ”meaning fire services. For the first time, it was publicly acknowledged that the military was prohibited from cooperating with civil protection and rescuing people in distress who died without help.

There are hopes that the situation will change. At least a statement about this was made by the Deputy Minister of Citizens’ Protection Nikos Hardallas during extraordinary briefing 4 August, regarding the raging fires in the country and the activation of the protocols of the Defkalion plan.

According to this plan, as reported, provides for the assistance of the Greek armed forces to the forces of the Ministry of Civil Protection with the help of special units, properly trained and equipped, to effectively respond to emergencies both within the country and abroad.

According to the fire department, the average daily number of forest fires in the past few days was about 80 due to the prolonged heat wave. Hundreds of people were evacuated from villages and settlements, many saw their homes and businesses, their animals burn. Thousands of hectares of agricultural land were destroyed. The population is massively complaining to journalists and scolding the Prime Minister.

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