Public order minister expresses firefighting concerns ahead of summer

As Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias expressed concerns about whether the country’s firefighting fleet was in a fit state to meet the challenges of the coming summer, Interior Minister Evripidis Stylianidis pledged to release 18.4 million euros in funding for Greece’s cash-strapped civil protection services.

Dendias warned Parliament on Thursday that Greece’s firefighting vehicles – already barely sufficient to battle frequent summertime forest fires – are old and suffering from maintenance problems as cutbacks in public spending take their toll on all emergency services.

“I hope this doesn’t cost us dearly in the coming period,” Dendias said.

The public order minister cited Greece’s fleet of crucial Canadair water-dropping aircraft, which he said is well past its normal life span but continues to operate “thanks only to the valiant effort made by the air force.”

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