Funding shortage hinders fire service’s capabilities, WWF warns

Funding shortage hinders fire service’s capabilities, WWF warns

The financial crisis has seriously undermined Greece’s fire prevention capabilities, the local branch of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned, while urging authorities to revive stalled plans for a volunteer firefighting unit.

The environmental group said that national funding designated for the prevention of wildfires this year can meet no more than 50 percent of forest services’ requirements. It added that allocated resources – a total of 16.9 million euros – were made available after a long delay, just ahead of the high-risk summer season.

“How can the fire service fulfill its extremely difficult task with diminished resources and with its air fleet traumatized and old?” WWF Greece said.

Meanwhile, the organization urged authorities to take steps to make thousands of volunteer firefighters operational, pointing out that the relevant legislation was passed three years ago.

According to data provided by WWF, wildfires last year destroyed an estimated 36,500 hectares of land.

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